“Australia is facing major productivity and economic challenges, and a lot of it comes down to not having the skilled workers we need,” Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said.
“We welcome this long-awaited agreement. All tertiary providers, and levels of government, need to be at the table to attack the skill shortages weighing on our economy and the nation’s growth.
“Focusing on skills development through vocational and university education is important.
“The government’s projections show that nine out of 10 new jobs require a post-school qualification – more than half of which will need a university degree.
“Jobs in health care, professional, scientific and technical services, and education – these are trusted professions you can’t enter without a degree, and they are among the fastest growing.
“Universities educate workers across all the national priority areas outlined in the national skills agreement, including net zero, national security and in the digital and care economies.
“These are the national challenges and opportunities we simply can’t rise to without universities and vocational education, and the skilled workers we educate.
“We also welcome the government’s focus on driving greater engagement between universities and vocational education and training providers, but this needs to be done in a complementary way.
“In the face of growing economic challenges, we need to be doing all that we can to lift productivity and move towards a sustainable and faster growing economy.
“Government has an opportunity through the Universities Accord to provide universities with the funding and policy certainty we need to continue doing our job for the nation. We can’t waste it.”