The Albanese government is investing $128.5 million (US$82.8 million) to fund an extra 4,000 Commonwealth-supported places (CSP) for graduates in university STEM courses.
From Sept. 1, universities are able to apply for additional CSPs for more students in engineering, mathematics, chemistry, and physics courses that are designed to meet the AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom, and the United States) submarine program’s needs.
One thousand places for bachelor-level courses will commence each year from 2024 to 2027.
The AUKUS submarine program supports the delivery of advanced conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines to the Australian Defence Force, strengthening the combined industrial capacity between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with increased cooperation and robust trilateral supply chains.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines’ success would be central to the people who build them.
“The Albanese government is committed to investing in young Australians and skilling our future workforce,” Mr. Marles said.
About 800 of the 4,000 places are going to South Australian universities as part of the Cooperation Agreement to support the construction of the submarines in Adelaide.
The Albanese government said the South Australian University places will increase the STEM workforce supply and develop the advanced technical skills needed to work on nation-changing projects.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education said growing a qualified and experienced STEM workforce to support Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine enterprise was a national priority.
“The scale of work required to support the enterprise will be unlike any previous shipbuilding program in Australian history and will deliver career and job opportunities for generations,” the department said.
However, only certain higher education providers listed in the Higher Education Support Act 2003 would be eligible to receive an allocation of places. Outstanding higher education providers would not be eligible to apply.
Engineering Advocates Call for 60,000 Engineering Graduates
Meanwhile, peak engineering advocates applauded the government’s commitment to investment in AUKUS engineering education and for recognising engineering’s significant role in Australia’s future.
“AUKUS is one our nation’s most significant engineering endeavours since the Snowy Hydro project and the [engineering] profession will be a critical voice in regulation and oversight, as well as the operation and maintenance required to support this