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The Australian Industry Group (Ai) has joined forces with the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) calling on the federal government to take a tripartite approach to solving Australia’s skills crisis.

They have identified four priority areas with engineering at the top of the list. In a statement they said: “Together, we are home to over 300,000 students and 23,000 full and part-time university staff and represent the interests of more than 60,000 businesses employing more than one million staff. Ai Group and ATN are driven by a commitment to quality across all levels of education, skills and training. “

It is estimated that over the next few years Australia will need 11,000 new engineers annually which is around 2,400 more than the domestic undergraduate engineering completions each year.

A portion of this shortfall could be filled by the more than 6,000 overseas undergraduate engineering students who graduate from Australian universities each year to address the skills gap more quickly, according to Engineering Australia CEO, Dr Bronwyn Evans.

“Australia has an engineering skills shortage exacerbated by COVID-19, an engineering job vacancy rate that has gone up 97 per cent in just 12 months, and an economic recovery hinging on major infrastructure projects,” Evans said.

“Productive employment of migrant engineers is vital to our national engineering capability and unless changes are made our future economic growth is at risk.”

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