BALLARAT students will benefit from Labor’s plan to invest in higher education, Federal Member for Ballarat Catherine King said on Monday. “We want kids in Ballarat that start university to finish with a high quality degree, not a debt sentence,” said Ms King. “Not every kid wants to go to university but we know that in the future, two in every three jobs in Australia will require a university degree, and the fastest growing jobs require skills and knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” Labor is concerned that the national average drop-out rate for first-year students reached 14.84 per cent in 2013, the highest since 2005.
28 per cent of people who started a degree in 2006 had not completed it after eight years Even worse, the gap in completions between metropolitan students and those from regional areas like Ballarat is nearly 6 per cent. “One of the biggest concerns parents have is what kind of job their kids are going to get down the track,” said Ms King. “The truth is our economy is in transition and our kids must be highly skilled, highly adaptable and technology literate to compete in the world. “That means they can’t just enrol in university, they need to complete university. “They need to graduate with the skills employers need and the knowledge to compete in an evolving employment landscape. “That’s why Labor has a positive plan for more highly skilled graduates, not $100,000 degrees. This is the investment our economy needs.”
Ms King was joined by Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition, at Federation University, to talk about the new Labor policy on Higher Education.
Mr Shorten said it was important for governments help backup the courage and enterprises of students. “What I mean by that is that all of the students here, like hundreds of thousands of students around Australia, know that they are going to need more skills then just of leaving school,” he said. “It’s important that Australians are given the opportunity to go to university, be it after school or as part of mature age, and it’s really important that students living in the region get a chance to go to university. “Labor is proposing a different path to higher education in Australia, we are very committed to a student funding guarantee for universities of $10,800 per graduate.”