The Australian Universities Accord Interim Report provides a framework for the future of university education in Australia. It contains five key recommendations for action to achieve a high-quality and equitable education system.
Engineers Australia welcomes the immediate actions outlined in the report. However, both the Minister for Education and the Chair of the Expert Panel have said that the Government won’t be able to implement everything in the interim report, at least not immediately.
Therefore, Engineers Australia suggest three priorities for action by Government:
- Meeting Australia’s future skills needs, particularly for the professions critical to the national interest – like engineering.
- Models of further cooperation between universities and industry (including work integrated learning) which support increased equity. Engineers Australia recommends engineering is used to pilot priority initiatives recommended in the report.
- Supporting professional accreditation of degree programs where it promotes innovation, is designed to internationally benchmarked standards that enable mobility, and where the benefits to graduates, institutions and the profession have been shown to outweigh any costs or administrative burden.
Throughout the interim report, engineering is mentioned repeatedly as a critical profession of the future.
Engineers Australia calls for the Australian Government to adopt graduation targets for priority professions. Specifically for engineering, the target needs to be an additional 60,000 engineering graduates by 2033.
Jenny Mitchell, General Manager, Policy and Advocacy at Engineers Australia said in our submission we’ve outlined case studies highlighting models of cooperation that have worked well to boost engineering education rates.
“Our Strengthening the engineering workforce report identifies several factors influencing engineering graduation rates in Australia. The case studies we’ve outlined address some of these concerns.”
Should large-scale funding not be available to support implementation of cooperation models nationwide, Engineers Australia has suggested using engineering as a test-bed to pilot priority initiatives recommended in the Universities Accord.
Finally, we recommend the proposed Tertiary Education Commission should include structures to ensure professions are represented, particularly professions that provide accreditation of degree programs.
Engineers Australia’s full submission and subsequent case studies are available on our website. We will continue our engagement with the Universities Accord panel and department in discussions about our submission.