FACTBase Bulletin 52 - Sizing and Mapping Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training in Perth and Peel

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This Bulletin has been prepared as part of the Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom project and aims to ‘size’ and spatially examine the sector in the Perth and Peel regions to quantify the contribution to the regional economy and identify opportunities for economic growth.

Key Findings
  • Human capital is critical to growth, creativity and productivity in modern economies, yet from 2001 to 2011 levels of human capital in Perth and Peel were in decline.
  • WA’s early 21st century resource sector ‘boom’ is likely to have contributed to declining domestic human capital due to a period in which non-university educated workers were engaged in higher income activities than university qualified workers.
  • The education and training sector is important to the economy of the Perth and Peel region. The region accommodates most employment in education and training and an estimated 99% of international students studying onshore are enrolled in Perth and Peel.
  • Nodes of employment in education and training in Perth and Peel, which reflect the location of higher education institutions, are more dispersed than in other major metropolitan capitals such as Melbourne and Sydney.
  • International education is a major export industry and is important to the economy of WA and the Perth and Peel region, however WA attracts less than its population based ‘share’ of international students in the higher education and VET sector. While Australia’s share of the international higher education student market has increased over the past 15 years, WA’s share has been in decline.
  • Fields of study in the higher education and VET sector in WA reflect the importance of the minerals and resources sector to the regional economy and data indicates that the proportion of students studying in fields such as Information Technology is disproportionately low. This is important because it is the third most popular field of study for international students in Australia.
  • WA is particularly under-represented in the higher education onshore international student market but has a high proportion of offshore student enrolments. Offshore students are an important source of income to local universities but do not deliver the valueadded benefits to the local economy that accompany onshore student enrolments.
  • WA attracts international students from a diverse range of countries, but Chinese students are under-represented in WA when compared with the Australian average. Interestingly, geographic proximity to source countries does not always correlate with higher enrolments.
  • The global international student market is expected to grow over the next 15-20 years, however competition between host countries and cities is also increasing. The Perth metropolitan region is rated below other major Australian capitals as a destination for international students.
Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.