Growing numbers of students are flocking to study healthcare courses at WA universities, an analysis of enrolment trends reveals.
As thousands of students start their university studies today, figures show the increasing popularity of health in the past decade has coincided with a fall in enrolments in engineering and environmental science.
Ross White, the head of data and analytics for The Good Universities Guide website, said the number of WA students enrolling in health-related courses such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and nursing more than doubled between 2004 and 2016, rising from 2042 to 5133.
He said demand had dipped for engineering, environmental science and agriculture, but architecture and natural and physical sciences courses were becoming more popular.
More students at WA universities enrolled in health-related courses in 2016 than any other field, including business and humanities.
The top five WA fields of study by enrolments were health, natural and physical sciences, management and commerce, education and engineering. The health related-course most prospective students viewed on gooduniversitiesguide.com.au was Curtin University’s bachelor of medicine.
First-year medical students Ethan Bertolini, 17, and Cleo Wee, 18, said they were attracted to Curtin’s course because it was the only WA university to offer a five-year undergraduate degree in medicine.
Mr Bertolini, who graduated from St Mark’s Anglican Community School in Hillarys last year, said he also liked the course’s focus on rural health issues and its cutting-edge facilities.
“We can record and critique ourselves with simulated patients and really find the areas we need to improve on,” he said.
Ms Wee, a Perth Modern School graduate, said she was inspired to study medicine after being a hospital patient two years ago.
Curtin Vice-Chancellor, Deborah Terry, said the university’s health enrolments had surged 150 per cent since 2004.
“This reflects the fact that health is a large and growing sector of the economy which is currently facing skill shortages in a number of specific professions and regions around Australia,” she said.
This article originally appeared in The West Australian – WA uni students flocking to healthcare courses as enrollments more than double over 12 years