Western Sydney University says the Commonwealth Government’s announcement of 39,000 extra university places by 2023 will be critical in helping to drive Australia’s economic recovery, a task particularly important for Western Sydney – a region facing significant economic and employment challenges in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the fine detail of the reforms is still being assessed, Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO, said it is encouraging to see the Australian Government promoting stronger links between universities and industry, and focusing on large-scale job creation.
He said the package recognises the critical role universities like Western Sydney University play in driving the economic growth for our region and providing the highly-skilled graduates necessary to support its recovery and meet future employment needs.
“These extra university places will be critical in addressing the increased domestic demand for higher education during this period of economic downturn,” said Professor Glover.
“The reforms are particularly important for Western Sydney, a region likely to experience higher youth unemployment and general under employment in the near term.”
Professor Glover said more job-ready graduates in national priority areas will be a major boost to some of Australia’s largest infrastructure projects currently underway in the region.
These include the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport, major rail corridor projects, and the Multiversity – a world-class teaching and research presence with a focus on STEM-specialist disciplines, located within the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, of which Western Sydney University is one of four higher education partners along with TAFE NSW.
Professor Glover said the University will take time to closely review the other elements of the package, including changes to the funding model for discipline clusters.
“While we recognise the importance of aligning university courses to future employment opportunities, we need to ensure we continue to have a diverse range of graduates entering the labour market and what impacts this will have on the economy over time,” concluded Professor Glover.
Source: Western Sydney University