Professionals Australia CEO Chris Walton has raised the impacts of rising university costs on engineering graduate career choices in an interview with the ABC’s Jon Faine.
Monday, 26 May 2014
This week, three engineering graduates have been standing on a street in Perth holding “Mechanical Engineer Graduate for Hire” placards, in an attempt to find a job.
Beyond trying to find jobs in a difficult market for graduates, these young professionals are also trying to raise awareness about the impact of the Government’s proposal to deregulate higher education and result in degree costs soaring, as announced in the Budget last week.
In response to the action of these three young engineers and on behalf of thousands of Professionals Australia student members in science, engineering and technology degrees, CEO Chris Walton spoke to Jon Faine about some of the impacts of rising university fees.
Jon Faine: What will deregulation of higher education and rising university fees do to the employment market?
Chris Walton: “Well it’s very worrying. The courses that will go up are almost definitely are the science, technology, engineering and maths courses – the very courses we need more students doing. That’s because they do a lot of practical work, lab work, and usually 30 plus hours face to face teaching each week.
Jon Faine: What affects do higher cost degrees have on students, on their motivations, their career paths?
Chris Walton: We’ve polled thousands of student members and what they are saying to us is that would affect their decision to go into the course.
This is disastrous for this country if we are doing something that deters people from going into engineering, science, technology and maths.
Secondly, it will affect which jobs they go for. At the moment there is already around a 20-30 per cent pay differential between engineers in the public/private sectors. If you have to pay an enormous debt back, it will affect the sort of job choices people make.
We need people in the public sector, doing the work of protecting the taxpayer.