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Go8 Media Release: We are a poorer nation if we do not see the wisdom in valuing our entire post-secondary system

In a keynote address to the “Graduate Employment and Industry Partnership Forum”, Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson has addressed the perils for the nation’s economy of making those who do not wish to choose a university education “feel they are a nobody”, and also the perils to the economy of Australia currently having no robust way to forecast future skills needs.”

Ms Thomson told the Forum that “I can state with confidence that there is much value in the right student choosing the right university degree, and that Go8 graduates are very employable. “However,” she said, “in Australia there are issues for the post-secondary education sector, and we do need to solve them.

“Three years ago, I spoke out on the need to take a good hard holistic look at post-secondary education, in particular, the need to stop the pressure on young people which has made them feel they are a nobody if they don’t undertake a university degree,” she said. “At that time, I received much criticism for espousing those views. It is why we need a holistic review of post-secondary education, regardless of who is in Government.”

Ms Thomson said she would never assert there are too many students enrolled in university “however the choice to undertake 3-4 years of full time study needed to obtain a bachelor’s degree should be a carefully considered one, crafted toward the best fit for you and your career”.

The Go8 was very concerned also that Australia’s post- secondary education system had no collated and analysed data available to assist it prioritise future employment needs. “We must have a unified strategy for managing skills, advising school leavers, and importantly with all of us having access to a cohesive future planning model that equips us with knowledge of the skills needs, employment trends and timelines of the future,” said Ms Thomson.

“Currently we do not have that data. Put simply, in Australia, there is no longer access to high-level strategic advice on employment forecasting, and the question has to be asked, why not? If we’re serious about managing employment change, then why would we not have access to such vital information for analysis and policy formulation? Educators need it,” she said.

“You can only fly blind for so long, because today’s world, as we know, moves fast. Sectors evolve and sectors crash. As a priority Government must re-establish a national capability to provide high-level strategic advice on workforce and employment forecasting.”

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472

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