UA has also proposed a series of practical actions that business could take to help prepare young people for the workforce of the future – including through deeper collaboration with universities.
In its response to the BCA’s call for feedback on policy proposals it outlined last October, the university sector has commended the business peak on its continuing interest in education policy.
Universities Australia Acting Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said while it was unusual for the BCA not to have consulted the sector in detail earlier, we would welcome closer engagement.
“Our sector wants to work productively with business to ensure proposals are informed by the best evidence and don’t undermine the existing strengths of Australia’s world class university system,” she said.
“Safeguarding our national strengths and understanding how various policy and funding settings underpin that success is a crucial part of avoiding policy mis-steps.”
“Universities consistently demonstrate their commitment to work closely with Australian business – and we do so once again now,” she said.
In its formal response to the BCA’s Future Proof paper, the peak body for universities:
- endorses BCA statements about the importance of tertiary education to our nation’s future prosperity;
- corrects a number of misconceptions about the Australian higher education system;
- urges the BCA to drop its proposal to introduce upfront fees for students in Australia; and
- identifies a number of opportunities for business to contribute to the national education and training endeavour.
UA agrees with the Business Council of Australia that investing in education and research is the best way to support productivity and innovation, and to equip Australia for an era of rapid change.
The UA submission proposes industry could partner with universities to:
- Jointly develop higher-end vocational programs in higher education;
- Co-invest with universities in quality work placements, including internships, work-integrated learning (WIL) places and apprenticeships;
- Assist with teaching in degree programs where appropriate;
- Co-invest in research with universities to create high-value-add products and jobs;
- Enhance research impact and education content by co-investment in key roles in the higher education sector;
- Upskill their existing staff with education and training provided by Australian tertiary education providers;
- Contribute to a national training fund; and
- Increase the number of apprenticeships offered business and industry.