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The initiatives recognise the need to increase targeted support to the university sector, particularly through Commonwealth Supported Places, while also improving the links between universities and the defence industry. The initiatives are targeted to meet the workforce requirements outlined in the South Australian Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Report. They include practical wraparound assistance, including security clearances and scholarships for eligible undergraduates, and on-the-job familiarisation activities to smooth the transition.
These initiatives for undergraduate degrees will have a medium-term impact on the skills pipeline. A STEM-based university degree takes an average of four years full time to complete, with further specific on-the-job training required.
The Commonwealth’s 2023–24 Budget announced 4,000 commencing Commonwealth Supported Places, including 800 for South Australian universities, to support future defence and defence industry workforce capabilities.
Cost – $128.5 million over four years to fund an additional 4,000 university places, with 800 university places allocated to South Australia. Commonwealth funded and delivered.
Timing – Courses commencing from January 2024 to 2028.
Impact – 200 students each year for four years (800 students total) undertaking courses to obtain qualifications relevant to defence industry employment.
This initiative will provide further support and internships to the students accessing Commonwealth Supported Places and undertaking broader defence and NPS-related courses, helping them transition from study into the defence industry.
Cost – $3.9 million over four years. South Australian Government funded and delivered.
Timing – 2024 to 2028.
Impact – 300 scholarship places will be available, and diversity will be a key feature of the program.
In addition to the key education and training initiatives required, there are a number of supporting measures that underpin the implementation of these initiatives including, Evidence-based decision-making, Strategic communications and outreach, Skilled migration, and Security clearances.
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