Port Macquarie-Hastings Higher Education Plan
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has adopted a vision for higher education that is aligned to the Federal Government's national objective. That is, to increase the number of 25 to 34 year olds with a bachelor degree or above to 40% by 2025. In order to achieve this in the Port Macquarie-Hastings and Mid North Coast region, a collaborative approach will be needed and a thorough understanding of the regional labour market dynamics is required. Enhancing higher education options for residents also needs to consider the post qualification options for graduates. Therefore, efforts to achieve the above goal will require the linkage of courses and programs with identified employment opportunities within the region.
Regional Data on Higher Education Qualifications
There are 821 (or 14.43%) Port Macquarie-Hastings residents aged 25 to 34 with a bachelor degree or above (ABS 2006). Regionally, this percentage is lower with 1604 (or 11.24%) residents in the Mid North Coast with a bachelor degree or above (ABS 2006). These figures are considerably lower than State and National averages and below other regions in Northern NSW that have a substantial University presence.
The Higher Education Industry Plan provides a framework to work collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders in order to make improvements to building higher education aspirations, developing access to university courses and programs, and making available a range of courses that are linked to regional employment demands. The plan has been developed in close consultation with the Port Macquarie-Hastings Education and Skills Forum.
The Economic Development Section of Council collects data relating to population-to-employment ratios and monitors job vacancies on an ongoing basis to determine areas of regional skill shortages. The following seven disciplines have been identified as having shortages in skills that require higher education qualifications.
- Medical services, nursing and allied health
- Primary, secondary and early childhood teaching
- Social and community welfare
- Business services
- Accounting, financial planning, management, marketing, information technology
- Civil, electrical, environmental
- Hospitality and events management
- Construction management
- Estimator, project management