The Federal Minister for Tertiary Education made a personal visit to the University of Southern Queensland’s Springfield campus this week to take a closer look at the rapidly growing campus — the heart of Springfield’s Education City.
Senator Chris Evans joined the Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, and USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas on Monday afternoon to tour the campus and meet with students and staff.
The Senator said it was pleasing to see first-hand that the Gillard Government’s record investment in higher education was opening the doors of USQ’s Springfield campus to more Australians, including students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The Gillard Government is committed to opening up opportunities to education to ensure we have the skilled workforce the Australian economy needs,” Senator Evans said.
“USQ is a great example of our record investment breaking down the barriers to higher education.”
Professor Thomas said Springfield was a crucial part of USQ’s drive to provide further education in the burgeoning growth corridor of South East Queensland.
“A large proportion of our students in that area come from low-socioeconomic backgrounds,” the Vice-Chancellor explained.
“USQ already has in place a large number of support mechanisms to ensure these students succeed in their studies.”
“We certainly appreciate the interest and support that has been shown by all levels of government over the years since our Springfield campus was created, and it was an honour and a privilege to welcome Senator Evans and Mr Neumann to our Springfield campus this week.”
Since 2007, the number of students from a low-socioeconomic background at USQ has grown by 27 per cent, with more than 4,848 low-SES students enrolled in 2011.
And the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students has grown by 35 per cent, with more than 371 Indigenous students enrolled in 2011.
Currently, 63 per cent of the students enrolled at USQ’s Springfield campus are from a low-socioeconomic background.
Senator Evans and Mr Neumann also inspected the site of USQ Springfield’s new Education Gateways Building to be built with $41.9 million from the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund.
The Education Gateways Building will support digitally connected learning environments, including simulated learning and laboratory spaces, enabling new offerings in Allied Health and Nursing, Engineering and Construction and Education.
“This project is a great outcome and will cement USQ’s position as the key university for our area, delivering great quality education for locals,” Mr Neumann said.
“It’s investments like these that will make sure local workers are prepared for the higher-skill, higher-paying jobs of tomorrow.”
Jim Campbell, USQ Media, +617 4631 2977, firstname.lastname@example.org
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