Most of the 20,000 jobs expected to be created under the plan will require university qualifications.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said universities, working with government and industry, will be relied on for the workers to build, maintain and operate nuclear submarines.
“AUKUS looms as one of the greatest industrial challenges in our history,” Ms Jackson said.
“Universities have a critical role to play in providing the highly educated workers required for its success. The knowledge and skills needed at every stage of the plan are taught in our institutions.
“We’ve been in close discussion with our government, including through the Defence Strategic Review, and AUKUS partner governments at the highest levels, on how universities can boost the flow of highly educated workers needed to boost our capability in the interests of all.
“One way we can do this is by offering more internships and work-integrated learning opportunities for students studying in areas of defence need, here and abroad.
“Universities are a crucial partner of government in Australia’s defence transformation.
“We look forward to further discussions with government around building closer partnerships between universities and AUKUS partners, defence, industry and complementary sectors.
“There is no time to waste in building our defence capability to keep our nation safe and secure.”
Read Universities Australia’s submission to the Defence Strategic Review.