More people would pursue post-grad learning if prior studies were recognised, survey found

By Shannon Jenkins

Monday December 16, 2019

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The majority of Australian workers with university degrees would consider furthering their education if their prior studies counted as credit that could fast-track their learning, according to a new report.

Consulting firm Deloitte surveyed nearly 3500 Australians aged 18 and over who have completed at least a bachelor’s degree on their perception of skill requirements for work and education aspirations.

More than a third of respondents (38%) stated that formal learning was not required for the skills they need. However, 58% believed a formal certification would help demonstrate their skills to employers as part of the hiring or promotion process. Meanwhile, 56% of post-bachelor workers indicated no interest in formal learning.

Roughly 37% said they did not have time to study, while 28% stated further study was too expensive.

More than 70% of respondents said they could be persuaded to pursue further study if their prior experience or learning could be recognised as advanced credit, which would reduce the amount of formal learning required.

Respondents also identified learning delivered at the workplace, flexible assessment, and options to pause and re-engage, as factors which would give them more incentive to study.

In light of the results, Deloitte made four proposals:

  1. Improve access to recognition of prior learning through clear information and greater access to academic credit, where appropriate; develop robust quality-assured mechanisms to assess and credit competencies developed through prior experience.
  2. Provide flexibility that enables learners to engage, take a break, pick up again, and submit assessments when it suits their other work and life commitments, where feasible; deliver learning at the places convenient to these learners, including where they work, supported by employer and provider partnerships that retain and upskill talent at scale;
  3. Provide short courses and postgraduate qualifications (or even better, short courses that stack towards qualifications); provide credit or recognition that learners can bank until they need it, or enable them to intermit when life takes an unexpected turn;
  4. Educate workers on the labour market, employer needs for specific skills, and the value and return on investment for further formal learning; promote the quality, standards and industry credibility of further formal learning that leads to career advantage.

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