Changes to higher education support will enable future Australian innovation

6 May 2024

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement of paid placements for student teachers with mandatory placements, as well as changes to make HELP repayments fairer and simpler for students.

These changes will make it easier for students to get the skills they need to teach young people to develop new technologies. The changes to HECS-HELP indexation will benefit around 3 million Australians, saving them thousands of dollars and setting them up for impactful careers.

While not all practical components of courses are covered by the new funding for mandatory placements, ATSE hopes that the successful implementation of this change will see further courses added over time, including in engineering.

ATSE welcomes these changes as ways of addressing the fundamental message of the Australian Universities Accord: participation and investment in higher education are needed to generate the knowledge, skills and research the nation needs. It is critical to evolve the higher education system to cater for an educated, future-ready workforce.

The Australian Universities Accord makes other recommendations to increase equity and innovation in the higher education system, including reducing student contributions raised under the previous government, changes in the timing of loan indexation to allow for repayments to be accounted for prior to indexation and reducing the repayment burden on low-income workers.

The Academy calls on the Australian Government to lay out a staged approach to implementation of the Universities Accord, overseen by an Implementation Advisory Committee.

ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said, “Solving Australia’s complex problems requires us to invest in quality education for our students and our future society.”

“These simple changes will help students for decades to come, addressing the STEM workforce shortage and bringing educational opportunities to diverse groups of people around the country.”