Four of Australia’s leading universities and TAFE NSW have announced the formation of a joint taskforce to drive an education-led economic recovery for Western Sydney.
The jobs focused taskforce will see UNSW Sydney, the University of Newcastle and the University of Wollongong – acting together as the ‘NUW Alliance’ – join with TAFE NSW and Western Sydney University to develop rapid training and re-skilling programs.
The new taskforce draws on longstanding collaborations between the four universities and TAFE NSW. Those collaborations have already produced a preliminary model of integrated education, research, and training. With a dedicated taskforce in place, that important work can now be accelerated.
Professor Paul Wellings CBE, Chair, NUW Alliance said, “The NUW Alliance looks forward to working with TAFE NSW and Western Sydney University for the jobs of the future as we develop a new model for the Multiversity within the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.”
The joint programs that the taskforce develops will be targeted for roll-out across the Western Parkland City. The Western Parkland City is the focus of the 2018 Western Sydney City Deal. Under the Deal, three levels of Government have committed to creating 200,000 knowledge jobs by 2038. The taskforce will be pivotal in realising that objective for a region among the hardest hit by the jobs and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The TAFE NSW – university taskforce will prioritise training in high-demand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related trades and professions. Its first major project is a pilot program targeting employability for the next generation of engineers. The newly announced TAFE NSW Western Sydney Construction Hub at Kingswood will be critical in bringing to life the practical elements of the new program, as will the internationally recognised engineering research and teaching depth of the four universities.
The taskforce will intensify its already significant consultation with industry in finalising the engineering pilot, and future programs. Connecting with local startups, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and blue chips – including international firms – will be critical in creating learning experiences that extend beyond theory to incorporate applied skills in real workplace environments.
Mr Steffen Faurby, Managing Director, TAFE NSW said, “Skills training will play an important role in our economic recovery, and we need to be prepared to meet that demand. The joint taskforce will complement our work in responding to emerging industry needs, and we look forward to closely collaborating with our university partners.”
The taskforce and the joint programs it develops will create a framework for the transition to a ‘Multiversity’, a further commitment under the Western Sydney City Deal to establish a world-class STEM multiversity, integrated with advanced vocational education and training to ‘anchor’ the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.
The universities and TAFE NSW are focused on delivering flexible and responsive programs to provide the skills required by the workforce during the period of economic recovery, while also realising swift education, training and employment outcomes within the Commonwealth and NSW Governments’ existing regulatory settings.
The joint taskforce and the Multiversity represent a step change in industry, education, research and training collaboration. These world-first initiatives will unquestionably deliver job-ready graduates for Western Sydney.