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14 April, 2021

Enrolments at CQUniversity up as demand for skills grows

CQUNIVERSITY'S vocational education and training is recovering from the impacts of COVID-19, as the university saw an almost 10 per cent increase in the number of unit enrolments compared to last year.

By Andrew Sorensen

CQUniversity Deputy Vice-President of VET Peter Heilbuth said more people were looking to VET training in the wake of the 2020 COVID lockdown.

“At the height of the lockdown last year CQUni recorded more than 21,000 VET unit enrolments and at the same time this year we have more than 23 000 VET unit enrolments – that’s an increase of about 9.8 per cent compared to 2020,” Mr Heilbuth said.

“This continues the upward trend we have seen in VET enrolments at CQUni since 2018.”

Mr Heilbuth said the course areas of nursing and midwifery, health, medical and applied sciences and vocational trades had seen the most significant increase in enrolments.

Nursing and Midwifery saw the greatest surge, recording a 20.5 per cent increase in VET student numbers with 845 currently enrolled.

“The end of the major lockdown in 2020 brought a quick and strong bounce-back in enrolments," Mr Heilbuth said.

"People realised the impacts and were incentivised to reskill, reopen a business, or change their career into an industry that was less tenuous."

“Federal and State incentivisation to study a VET course was also a factor – initiatives like JobTrainer, Free TAFE and TAFE Priority Skills Funding.

"All of these various ‘buckets’ had the effect of reducing the costs of studying a VET course at CQUni and in turn increased interest.”

Mr Heilbuth said CQUni had seen growth in higher-level VET qualifications, particularly in Certificate IV and Diploma-level.

“This is likely due to the flexibility of access - as most of our courses are offered fully online – the demand to reskill, the availability of student loans for higher level courses and what we call the ‘halo effect’ of studying the qualifications through a university rather than a TAFE,” he said.

He said job growth in mining and the mining engineering and technology industry in the Central Queensland region also drove an increase in apprenticeship numbers.

“There is strong growth predicted between now and 2024 in the areas of engineering and related technologies, management and commerce, society and culture, health and education,” he said.

“CQUniversity aims to be at the forefront of VET delivery to meet the region’s training demands in a post-pandemic world.”


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