Australia: Students’ skills ‘no issue’ for employers

Fuente: The Australian


Las universidades y académicos han rechazado las afirmaciones de que algunos graduados están mal preparados para el trabajo, acusando al ministro de Educación, Simon Birmingham, de usar las tasas de deserción estudiantil como “forraje político” y cuestionando cómo los recientes recortes de fondos de $ 2,200 millones mejorarán el sector.

El Senador Birmingham dijo ayer que las nuevas cifras sobre las tasas de finalización y la idoneidad del grado en la fuerza de trabajo mostraron un aumento en las no finalizaciones y una caída en los niveles de satisfacción de los empleadores y los graduados, “así que tenemos que cortar eso de raíz”.

Una encuesta anual de satisfacción del empleador financiada por el gobierno reveló que más del 10 por ciento de los graduados encuestados dijeron que su calificación “no era para nada” importante y otro 15 por ciento “no tan importante” para su trabajo al poco tiempo de comenzar.

Innes Willox, directora de la organización de empleadores Australian Industry Group, dijo que la encuesta mostró que algunos nuevos participantes en el mercado laboral estaban “llegando al desempleo” debido a que sus credenciales terciarias no eran relevantes para el campo en el que se encontraban.

Universities and academics have hit back at claims some graduates are being poorly prepared for work, accusing Education Minister Simon Birmingham of using ­student attrition rates as “political fodder” and questioning how ­recent $2.2 billion funding cuts will improve the sector.

Senator Birmingham said yesterday that new figures on completion rates and degree suit­ability in the workforce showed an increase in non-completions and a fall in employer and graduate satisfaction levels, “so we need to nip that in the bud”.

An annual government-­funded employer satisfaction survey found that more than 10 per cent of graduates surveyed said their qualification was “not at all” ­important and another 15 per cent “not that” important for their job soon after beginning.

Innes Willox, head of employer organisation Australian Industry Group, said the survey showed that some new entrants to the labour market were “verging on the unemployable” ­because their tertiary credentials were not relevant to the field they were in.

Universities Australia chief Catriona Jackson saidg employer satisfaction had risen in all categories of graduate skills since last year’s survey, including employability, teamwork, adaptability and general communication skills.

“This survey gives us important, transparent information to guide our understanding of the complex transition from study to work,” Ms Jackson said.

She said the research found that more than four in five ­employers were satisfied with university graduates who worked for them, and 88 per cent of ­graduates felt their qualification prepared them well for their current job.

She stepped up criticism of $2.2bn in funding cuts recently pushed through in the form of a two-year freeze in federal grants funding.

Senator Birmingham yesterday defended the cuts, saying they were designed to “actually see outcomes from unis that are a value to not only taxpayers but importantly to the students themselves and, of course, to our overall economy”.

National Tertiary Education Union president Jeannie Rea ­accused Senator Birmingham of creating “political fodder” out of university outcomes.

She said the question of whether ­students found their ­degrees relevant immediately upon entering the workforce needed to take into account “ongoing qualification needs” in many industries.

“The more interesting thing is to look five years out, so that someone might start in a job with an undergraduate degree, then in order to progress their career go on to a masters, and so on,” Ms Rea said.

“One of the things that’s also missed is that it’s not all people in their early 20s, but many are ­mature-aged students who’ve had to change their job; sometimes they’ve been made redundant and had to choose a new field where they start again at the bottom of the pile.”


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