Higher education reform will have longlasting impacts
The proposed Job-ready Graduates Package is the most significant change to Australia’s tertiary education system in over a decade, and will impact current and future generations.
ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said that ATSE has long advocated for incentives to encourage domestic students to choose fields of education that lead to jobs of national priority, such as in STEM.
“ATSE is committed to enhancing technology and engineering career paths, supporting a strong, diverse, and appropriately skilled STEM workforce, and strengthening engagement with industry” said Ms Walker.
“We therefore welcome the Australian Government’s proposed incentive for work-integrated learning such as internships, extending the Industry 4.0 advanced apprenticeship pilot and fostering closer university-industry research collaboration.”
While ATSE supports the policy objective of increasing Australia’s pipeline of STEM-skilled workers, early analysis suggests that the proposed funding model accompanying the policy may actually have the opposite effect.
“A foreseeable outcome would see less STEM places being offered by universities, rather than more,” said Ms Walker.
“ATSE is very concerned about this possible outcome – particularly at a time when the economy needs all the STEM innovation it can access to develop and manufacture a vaccine, and then drive Australia out of recession.”
ATSE is recommending more time be taken to consider and model the effects of the proposed policies.
“The sector is already responding to a major crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is therefore a challenging time to also consider and respond to a proposal for major sectoral reform.”
“ATSE welcomes the opportunity of contributing to this policy development, drawing on our fellowship of leaders across applied science, technology and engineering to achieve the desired objective of strengthening Australia’s STEM workforce.”
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