The state of education

Written on the 5 March 2009

The state of education


You apply for a job. You attend an interview. You anxiously await a call back. Most career professionals will go through this cycle a fair few times. But are the tough economic times calling for more stringent approaches to learning? Cezanne Laidlaw reports.
THE global financial crisis has the ability to send a wave of nerves through those on the job hunt. But more and more people are finding themselves having little luck securing a position. The job market is demanding the crème de la crème of candidates with unemployment set to a hit a new high in Australia.
So in a time where extra skills are almost a prerequisite and salaries are getting the chop, what can executives do to stay on top of their game? There is an increasing awareness that executive higher education is the most useful tool when trying to stay on top of the game.
Experts from universities to training academies are advising along similar lines: you need to differentiate yourself from the other candidates. Simply having a qualification or life skills is a things of the past.
Although we have already seen an increase demand for higher education Ian Eddie, director of the Graduate College of Management believes the demand for executive education will continue to increase over the next three to five years. Demand for education, Eddie says, runs along similar cycles to economic changes.
“When economic climates are good and there are lots of opportunities, there is no need for further education. But when the economy is tighter and opportunities are less, people are willing to invest more in educations,” he says.
The good news is that Queensland is set and ready to feed the education demand. There are nine universities operating in Queensland, educating around 188,000 students and employing 16,500 staff of 26 campuses. There are also more than 20 non-self accrediting higher education institutions and overseas institutions that operate in Queensland, teaching more than 5000 students. According to the Queensland Government higher education institutions contribute more than $2 billion annually to the Queensland economy.
Within Queensland’s Towards Q2 campaign, various targets have been set in the education sector.
A spokesperson from the Department of Education, Training and the Arts commented that continuing education and boosting qualifications is even more important in the current economic climate.
High level tertiary qualifications can increase an employee’s capacity to move to new employers and occupations, a distinct advantage in a tight employment market. There is ample research that links improved economic and social well-being to tertiary attainment levels.
The Queensland Government’s Q2 strategy has set a target that three-out-of-four Queenslanders will hold trade, training and tertiary qualifications by 2020.
For most executives the thought of returning to an academic institution proves to be quite arduous. With the rapid change of technology and different teaching method, the generational gap can seem simply too large to bridge.
But for those who are at the crossroads where update or refreshed skills are preferable there are plenty of options, both traditional and new.





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