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Outcome 2 – World-class tertiary education, training and research

The department’s tertiary education policy leadership contributes to a national understanding of labour market needs and standards, and maximises opportunity for students, apprentices and trainees to participate in quality education and training and to make informed choices along their education journey.

Tertiary education and training supports the aspirations of students and the needs of the current and future workforce, improves workforce participation and drives national productivity. Australia’s world-class education, training and research contribute to our global reputation as a leading study destination and our success as a global partner in international education and research collaboration.

We aim to build on the current success of Australian international education and help students, communities and industry around the world to maximise their potential and prosperity. Our work to improve collaboration between universities and industry, including supporting national collaborative research infrastructure, contributes to national and global prosperity by delivering social and economic benefits for all.

‘Over 4 million students undertaking vocational education and training.’

‘More than 550,000 international students studying in Australia.’

‘1.4 million students enrolled in higher education in Australian universities.’

‘Australia’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) network is used by over 35,000 researchers, both domestically and internationally.’

Table 5 Outcome 2 activities and related strategies

Activities

Delivery strategies

Improving the sustainability and effectiveness of Government funding for tertiary education.

  • Delivering more choices for students and increasing transparency, accountability and sustainability in higher education by implementing the Government’s 2017 higher education reform package.
  • Providing students with access to tertiary options, while better protecting students and taxpayers, by providing income contingent loans to students in eligible vocational education and training (VET) courses through the VET Student Loans program.

Maintaining a focus on transparency, quality and informed student choice.

  • Transforming the data available to consumers, governments and regulators on VET, and enhancing the MySkills website to bring together information on outcomes with information on VET options.
  • Supporting students to make informed choices and driving excellence and quality in higher education by managing the Quality Indicators in Learning and Teaching surveys and other digital platforms, and by improving the transparency of university admissions processes.
  • Lifting training provider standards, implementing stronger consumer protections and implementing the VET Information Strategy to enhance perceptions of and improve information resources about VET.

Strengthening participation of disadvantaged groups.

  • Supporting better outcomes for students from low socioeconomic (low SES) status backgrounds, Indigenous students and students with disability.
  • Improving support for regional students, including establishing regional hubs to study locally by distance from any Australian university and implementing the new four year Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships.

Responding to labour market, industry and employer needs.

  • Targeting support under the new Skilling Australians Fund for apprentices, trainees, pre-apprenticeships and higher level skilled Australians in occupations of high demand, with future growth potential, or in rural and regional Australia.
  • Responding to labour market needs by facilitating effective engagement between higher education and VET providers and industry, improving training package development and supporting training that has strong links to industry needs.

Creating and connecting transition pathways.

  • Meeting changing requirements and expectations in VET and higher education by supporting the Higher Education Standards Panel to undertake a review of higher education provider categories.
  • Preparing students for success in higher education by linking secondary schooling standards to entry standards for higher education through a review of the Australian Qualifications Framework by 31 December 2018.

Strengthening and growing Australia’s international education sector.

  • Progressing activities under the National Strategy for International Education 2025 to sustainably grow the sector and ensure Australia remains the partner of choice for high quality education, training and research engagement, which is important to Australia’s future economic growth and social advancement.
  • Protecting and strengthening the reputation of Australia’s international education sector, including building confidence in Australian providers and their qualifications, and offering world-leading international student protections.

Maintaining the world-class standard of Australian research and increasing its benefits.

  • Increasing engagement between researchers and industry by advancing the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.
  • Strengthening Australia’s national research infrastructure capacity by establishing an investment plan informed by the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap.
  • Strengthening industry engagement and employment outcomes for PhD students, including increasing internship opportunities for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Table 6 Outcome 2 Performance criteria and targets

Performance Criteria—what we will measure

Programs

Method

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

2020–21

Increased participation in higher education, particularly for previously under represented groups.

2.1; 2.3; 2.4; 2.5

Time series analysis of university statistics

17.9% of domestic undergraduates are from a low SES background (postcode based).

1.8% of students at funded higher education providers are Indigenous.

0.7% completions of higher degrees by research are Indigenous.

18.0% of domestic undergraduates are from a low SES background (postcode based).

1.9% of students at funded higher education providers are Indigenous.

0.7% completions of higher degrees by research are Indigenous.

18.1% of domestic undergraduates are from a low SES background (postcode based).

2.0% of students at funded higher education providers are Indigenous.

0.8% completions of higher degrees by research are Indigenous.

18.2% of domestic undergraduates are from a low SES background (postcode based).

2.2% of students at funded higher education providers are Indigenous.

0.9% completions of higher degrees by research are Indigenous.

Undergraduates continue to have relatively high employability and earnings.

2.1; 2.3; 2.4

Annual survey and ATO1 data

87% employed within four months of completing degree.

87% employed within four months of completing degree.

87.7% employed within four months of completing degree.

87.7% employed within four months of completing degree.

VET training choices are better aligned with industry needs.

2.4

Survey on enrolment

80% of VET Student Loans students surveyed report studying for job or business related reasons.

80% of VET Student Loans students surveyed report studying for job or business related reasons.

80% of VET Student Loans students surveyed report studying for job or business related reasons.

80% of VET Student Loans students surveyed report studying for job or business related reasons.

VET student satisfaction and employability.

2.8

Annual survey

80% of graduates are satisfied with the overall quality of their training.

80% of graduates were employed or enrolled in further study after training.

80% of graduates are satisfied with the overall quality of their training.

80% of graduates were employed or enrolled in further study after training.

80% of graduates are satisfied with the overall quality of their training.

80% of graduates were employed or enrolled in further study after training.

80% of graduates are satisfied with the overall quality of their training.

80% of graduates were employed or enrolled in further study after training.

Employers’ use and views of VET.

2.8

Biennial survey (2017, 2019)

80% of employers satisfied with apprenticeships and traineeships.

80% of employers satisfied with nationally recognised training.

 

80% of employers satisfied with apprenticeships and traineeships.

80% of employers satisfied with nationally recognised training.

 

Research postgraduates continue to have relatively high employability, earnings and course satisfaction.

2.5

Annual surveys and ATO data

90.9% employed within four months of completing degree.

90.9% employed within four months of completing degree.

91.7% employed within four months of completing degree.

91.6% employed within four months of completing degree.

Australian international education continues to be recognised as world leading.

2.7

Biennial survey (2018, 2020)

 

80% of international student are satisfied or very satisfied with studying and with living in Australia.

 

80% of international student are satisfied or very satisfied with studying and with living in Australia.

Australian universities continue to rank highly in terms of research excellence and collaboration.

2.5; 2.6

Excellence for Research in Australia (ERA) assessment process

87% of research in Australian universities is rated as world standard or above.

87% of research in Australian universities is rated as world standard or above.2

87% of research in Australian universities is rated as world standard or above.

87% of research in Australian universities is rated as world standard or above.

ATO: Australian Taxation Office. AGA: Australian Government Actuary.

New indicators will be introduced in 2018 relating to industry engagement.

Footnotes

  1. ATO: Australian Taxation Office. AGA: Australian Government Actuary.
  2. New indicators will be introduced in 2018 relating to industry engagement.