AUSTRALIANS LOOK TO UPSKILL AMID JOB SECURITY CONCERN IN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN
More than half of Australians (54%) are worried about their job security in 2009, with more than one in three planning to further their skills and qualifications to make themselves more employable.
The results from a survey held on Femail.com.au by Think: Education Group, one of Australia's largest private tertiary providers, come as economic conditions take their toll on the Australian employment market and diminish career opportunities.
The survey also found the top four career New Year's resolutions for 2009 are to earn more money (26%), get a promotion (18%), get a new job (17%) and keep their current job (9%).
"As Australians all over the country become more concerned about their job security, there has never been a better time to further job skills and improve employment prospects, " says Malcolm Kinns, General Manager, Flexible and Online Learning, THINK Education Group.
Kinns says with unemployment now at 4.5 per cent and predicted to reach seven per cent by 2010, Australians should use this time to further their education, secure their careers and ensure they are less expendable.
"The more experience and qualifications a person has, the more valuable they are to an employer. But finding the time to study can be very difficult, particularly for regional Australians who may feel they have to move to big cities to further their education," says Kinns.
In order to meet this growing need to upskill, the Think: Education Group will launch Flexible and Online Learning in February through two of its colleges, APM College of Business and Communication and William Blue College of Hospitality and Tourism.
The new online option allows students in regional Australia to choose a workload to suit their lifestyle and study at their own pace from anywhere in the country. The launch in February will include Bachelor of Business Degrees with majors in Hospitality, Tourism, Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising and Event Management.
"Our courses offer students the opportunity to change and shape their own careers, whether it be as a chef, travel marketer, restaurant owner, event manager, advertising executive, marketing manager or public relations consultant without having to leave home.
"Unlike traditional distance education, THINK offers dedicated lecturers who facilitate the various units of study. They provide constant academic support for students through a variety of communications channels including forums and interactive lectures," says Kinns.
THINK's lecturers and support network are industry practitioners that constantly engage with each student to track and maintain their progress.
"At THINK, we have always ensured courses have a balance of practice and theory and our Flexible and Online Learning study option is no different. Industry engagement provides students with the knowledge and experience required to embark on or enhance a career in their chosen industry," says Kinns.
"Our online students have access to the same resources as those on campus. Via a large network of contacts, students can arrange internships, graduate jobs and volunteer opportunities. The online platform is easy to use and allows the student to interact with lecturers and each other," explains Kinns.
With over half (53%) of the survey respondents indicating that lack of time would be the biggest hurdle to furthering their skills in 2009, Australians are looking for flexible study options.
"Learning online means those in regional Australia do not have to uproot their lives and move to the city to further their education, saving time and money on travel. It also means that Australians can stay put, complete their studies over two or six years, working around their lifestyle and preventing any regional brain drain within the region," says Kinns.
Tamworth's Josh Brown studied an Advanced Diploma of Advertising at APM in Sydney in 2006 and believes that those seeking to further their education in 2009 should look to options outside traditional face-to-face education.
"Studying at APM allowed me to fast track my studies in two years, but I would have jumped at the chance to study online if it had been available.
"Being a country boy, moving to Sydney was financially quite hard. As soon as I completed my Advanced Diploma and gained industry experience I moved back to the bush. I am now working to become a partner at my current agency 360 Communications, and provide regional businesses with the marketing and advertising services they deserve," says Brown.
Brown says he plans to continue his studies through THINK's new online offering, to help expand the agency at which he works
"Studying online will enable me to do it in my own time and build my skills to help my current agency become a one-stop-shop that provides PR, event management and marketing to local businesses in regional Australia," adds Brown.
Applications are now open for the February 2009 intake period for APM or William Blue online courses. Students applying for Flexible and Online Learning may be eligible for FEE-HELP. Similar to HECS, FEE-HELP offers a deferred payment system for private college students.
For further information please call APM College of Business and Communication or William Blue College on 1300 851 237 or visit www.apm.edu.au or www.williamblue.edu.au.