March 16, 2022

ATN and IRU universities are uniting for the first time to call on the next government to address three challenges

ATN and IRU universities are uniting for the first time to call on the next government to address three challenges:

  1. Australia’s skills and labour shortages 
  2. Increasing access and participation in higher education 
  3. Closing the Gap for First Nations Australians. 

The Australian Government needs to prioritise the role of universities in responding to these challenges. Together with government and industry, universities will prepare Australia for the technological, demographic and global shifts of the 21st century. 

To enable future job creation and the post-COVID recovery, a high-quality post-school education will need to remain open to all Australians to meet the needs of our economy and society. 

 The skills crisis we face 

To accelerate our recovery from the pandemic and meet the challenges and opportunities ahead, we will need a more highly skilled and educated workforce across the country. 

We will need almost a million new people in the workforce by 2025. Nine out of ten of these people will require a post-school education and over half of them will require a university level education. 

Particular skills shortages exist in the digital, technology, healthcare and education sectors, and these are all areas where our universities play a central role in training the future workforce. 

All Australians will need access to a post-school education so they can fully participate in society and secure the new and emerging jobs being created. 

While participation in university has improved over recent decades, more needs to be done to ensure the benefits are more evenly shared across all communities and regions in Australia. 

Our challenge to the major parties in this election year is clear: we seek a clear plan for how the next government will work with universities and industry to solve this skills crisis and improve access to university education for Australians across the nation.

Read the full submission here.