University of the Sunshine Coast executive Professor Birgit Lohmann concedes there are challenges facing the area, as latest figures show local graduates are struggling to find work.

The university’s senior deputy Vice-Chancellor said they were aware of the fact there were “obvious challenges for graduates, particularly if they want to stay on the Sunshine Coast”.

The Good Universities Guide released data this week which ranked USC as second-last in the state for graduates gaining full-time employment (64.6%) within four months of completing their course.

The Coast’s university was also ranked lowest in Queensland for graduates’ median salary ($53,500).

University of Southern Queensland was ranked top in both employment outcomes and median salaries in Queensland for 2017/18, while Central Queensland University and James Cook University were second and third respectively in both criteria.

The national average rate of graduates entering the full-time workforce within four months was 69.5%.

Professor Lohmann said USC was improving employment prospects for its graduates by partnering with the Sunshine Coast Council as part of its Regional Economic Development Strategy, to boost the local economy.

She said the overall employment figure, including part-time employment, was “much higher” for USC, and research done as part of the Beyond Graduation surveys showed USC graduates finding full-time employment within three years was up around 90-95%.

“The university does have a very high proportion of mature age students,” Professor Lohmann explained.

Professor Lohmann said she expected the four month post-graduation employment figure to improve in years to come as students found work in the local medical sector.

The university’s new campus at Moreton Bay is also hoped to provide an employment boost, through greater connections with the energy and technology industries in that region.

“This (lack of full-time employment) isn’t the picture if you look a couple of years out,” she said.

USC Student Guild vice-president Samuel Chee said there would have been a number of factors contributing to the figures, and added the statistics were “only applicable” to that four-month period.

 

This article originally appeared on the Sunshine Coast Daily – Coast uni graduates struggling to find work

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