UA chief says our universities are “absolutely essential to economic transition, to launch new ideas into the world, and to develop innovation in industry”.
May 16, 2016 | News | by The Learning Press staff
Universities Australia has launched its own ‘jobs and growth’ crusade with a new campaign designed to show the vital role of higher education in Australia’s future prosperity.
While the PM is spruiking the Coalition’s economic credentials, UA chief executive Barney Glover says universities have never been more important to our economic success.
“We want to remind Australians - and all candidates and political parties - of the enormous contribution that universities make to almost every aspect of Australia’s economic and social wellbeing,” he said.
“The highly-skilled teachers in their child’s primary school classroom? Educated at a university.
“The doctor who treats their elderly parent? Educated at a university.
“The engineer who designed the bridge they drive over safely every day.
The forensic scientist who helps solve crimes and makes their communities safer.
The IT programmers who engineered the technology in their smartphone.
The people who designed banking security systems to keep their money safe.
“The people who came up with GPS, who keep planes in the sky, and the plant scientists who are developing more drought-resistant crops.
“All university educated.”
The campaign begins this week with newspaper advertising and will be followed by TV and digital media runs.
It aims to highlight the role of universities in transitioning Australia from a resource and construction-heavy economy to one in which skills and knowledge are the most valuable commodities.
It also looks to emphasise the role of a strong sector in the lives of all Australians, with modelling by economic consultants Cadence Economics showing that for every thousand university graduates who enter the workforce, 120 new jobs are created for people without university degrees.
The analysis finds that having more graduates in the economy lifts the wages of workers who do not have degrees by $655 a year, or $12.60 a week.
The Keep It Clever advertising campaign, launched today at the FUTUREPROOF 2016 conference in Sydney, highlights the changing nature of the Australian jobs market and the importance of keeping ahead of the technology that will drive it.
Professor Glover said: “The story of work and career in Australia is changing.
“For people entering the workforce now, the notion of a linear career narrative or even steady progression is over. Young people are expected to have an average of 17 different occupations over the course of their working lives.
“Universities will be even more essential to help people reskill, upskill and reinvent their jobs.
“Disruption is not a distant rumble. It is upon us.”
The public awareness campaign follows two years of policy stagnation over university funding as the Government has wrestled with how to sustainably support the burgeoning sector.
Although it has ditched proposals for widespread fee deregulation of university course fees, $2.5 billion of funding cuts and cost-saving reforms to Australia’s student loans system are imminent if Malcolm Turnbull wins the July election.
Labor has pledged a funding increase for higher education and, Professor Glover says, heads to the election “with the most detailed higher education policy framework produced by an opposition in quite a while”.
But, he says, UA is non-partisan and will support policy which prioritises a strong and sustainable university system.
“We will continue to make the case for a university system that is accessible to all, regardless of socio-economic background, gender, ethnicity, disability or religion,” he said.
“We will advocate for a system that is financially sustainable to students and taxpayers, a system that is high quality, accountable and sufficiently well-resourced to deliver world-standard teaching and research.
“We will do this simply because Australia cannot afford not to do it.”