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Should paid jobs be added to degrees? Six major Australian universities think so

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A group of Australian universities have called for paid jobs to be added to degrees. But what would it look like? Here are the details.
Should paid jobs be part of a degree?

Six leading Australian universities have called on the Federal Government to add a system that includes paid, industry work as a requirement for students to undertake before graduating.

This would provide assured income as part of a degree.

It hopes to improve transitions into the workforce. Another benefit proposed has been lowering financial barriers to higher education.

Which Australian universities think paid jobs should be added to degrees?

The six institutions are dual-sector universities, and offer both academic and vocational (skills-based) learning to students.

The submission was sent to a panel that will provide advice to the Federal Government on the best ways to improve education outcomes in Australia. The panel will deliver its final report by the end of the year.

The universities were:

  • RMIT University (Victoria)
  • CQUniversity (Queensland)
  • Federation University (Victoria)
  • Charles Darwin University (Northern Territory)
  • Victoria University (Victoria)
  • Swinburne Institute of Technology (Victoria)

How would paid jobs be part of a degree?

The submission proposes a ‘learn-and-earn’ scheme for degrees. This would allow students to gain industry skills while they’re completing their studies, and could also be for TAFE students.

The programs could also include cadetship programs or multi-year work arrangements to support a diploma or a degree.

What have they said?

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) told TDA the proposal would support “critical skills and workforce needs alongside the longer-term benefit of professional networks and a recognised tertiary qualification”.

“A guaranteed wage and employment contract will have practical, tangible benefits from the outset.”

Charles Darwin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said “combining practical skills with analytical knowledge” can help address challenges in developing a productive workforce.

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