Allan Reinikka

Qld universities ask: please explain, what is job ready?

IT IS not often highly-educated vice-chancellors ask for the definitions of basic words.

But Queensland universities are calling on industries to elaborate on what employers mean when they say they want "job ready" graduates.

University of Queensland vice-chancellor Professor Peter Hoj told hundreds of people gathered to hear from vice-chancellors from across the state at a Committee for Economic Development Australia function that employers were not explaining what they meant.

He and University of Southern Queensland vice-chancellor Professor Jan Thomas also urged employers to be more willing to give students an opportunity to experience work environments.

The panel of vice-chancellors spoke about Australia's future workforce following CEDA's recent report that almost five million jobs, or about 40% of workers, face a high probability of being replaced by computers in the next 10 to 15 years.

Automation has already replaced some jobs in the agriculture, mining and manufacturing industries.

But the study found other areas likely to follow suit are in the health sector that has remained largely untouched by technology.

CQUniversity vice-chancellor Prof Scott Bowman said the finding that 65% of jobs were set to change was really an opportunity for universities.

"When you get massive disruptions to economies that's where you get the real opportunities," he said.

Universities themselves are already changing with the times, University of Sunshine Coast vice-chancellor Professor Greg Hill said.

He said students were learning differently and institutions needed to cater for that.

"Whether you're a regional university where 50% of your students aren't going to be school leavers, they've done something else before they go to university; they have a slightly different needs," Prof Hill said.

"I'm confident universities are adjusting to what is required."

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