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The reinstatement of the University College as a category in Australia’s tertiary education provider framework affords an opportunity to internationalise our university system, improve student access and success and create course and institutional diversity. Despite the best efforts of government, access and academic success in our universities for equity groups and non-traditional students has been underwhelming.

High performing economies in the OECD have ensured that the status of VET as a partner in tertiary education is maintained. To achieve this, they have diversified the university sector to provide unimpeded access to applied education within a university. They have created a parallel university system, in part to ensure that the intermediate skilled workforce is maintained and strengthened.

If we are to renovate our skilled workforce that in turn means raising the status of VET and providing improved university opportunities for Australian students, then a revised University College model is an important component.

A revised model could be a vital tool in enhancing social cohesion and economic growth in Australia. The University College should not emphasise research as a priority. They would be designed to embrace technical vocational applied education in a variety of fields such as manufacturing, technology, teaching, human resources, business, construction and health. They would preference teaching over research but engage in applied research in conjunction with the needs of industry. They would have strong industry and community partnerships.

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December 2019

Bruce Mackenzie Mackenzie Research Institute 

All information is correct at the time of printing but subject to change.

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