Executive summary and recommendations
Realising the enormous potential of future resources projects in Australia will require access to appropriate university educated professional and managerial staff, as much as to skilled employees in the traditional trades. Australia's universities have a long record of providing both specialist graduates in fields such as mining engineering and generalist graduates in fields such as law, business and science for employment in the resources sector.
Universities will be best positioned to meet the future graduate needs of the resources sector through enhanced communication channels to maintain the relevance of university study, greater use of work integrated learning such as internships, mechanisms to support specialised professional disciplines, and measures to promote interest in maths and science. Universities Australia also supports a broader role for Skills Australia, expanded pathways between vocational education and training (VET) and higher education and improved opportunities for regionally-based and Indigenous Australians in professional and managerial roles in the resources sector.
Universities Australia does not believe that the Government's new student-centred funding model for higher education will be detrimental to the resources sector, provided that base funding levels for academic disciplines are reviewed to ensure they are set appropriately, and mechanisms such as compacts can be used to support national priority disciplines. Creating aspirations at the school level for careers in resources companies will also be increasingly important under a system where student preferences drive allocation of university places.