Hong Kong Business Chamber: Education
I come from a working class matriarchy.
Three generations of women who left school before they were 15.
Three generations of women who brought up their children on their own.
Three generations of women who cleaned houses and hospitals and theatres and clothes.
Three generations of disadvantage.
For my family, it was education that broke that cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Even though my father left my mother, my sisters and me when I was 11, with just $30 in the bank, my Mum was determined her daughters would be educated.
Thanks to a quality public education and free university, we were. I proudly represent the people of Canberra in Parliament. My middle sister is a scientist, winemaker and Australia’s first female Master of Wine. My little sister is an internationally renowned neurologist.
Education is the silver bullet, which is why every Australian should have access to it - no matter what their postcode, no matter how much their parents earn, no matter their gender, race or religion.
But education is not just transformative for individuals. It’s transformative for nations when there is investment, and investment in future-proofing.
Nine out of 10 new jobs created in the next four years will need either a university degree or a TAFE qualification.
Australia’s economic and social prosperity and national security relies on future generations being educated and skilled to work in a world that is constantly changing, a world that requires agile thinkers, problem solvers, analysts and innovators.
This is particularly the case in cybersecurity, where 19,000 cybersecurity specialists will be needed in the next decade. So in an industry with zero unemployment and a significant skills shortage the pressure is on the education sector to provide the work-ready talent we need, pronto.
Fortunately, the secondary, vocational and tertiary sectors are rising to the challenge. Schools are rolling out programs and awareness campaigns to provide a pathway to a cyber security career. A national certificate and diploma level curriculum has been developed for the TAFE sector. And universities across Australia are introducing undergraduate and postgraduate multidisciplinary degrees to cater for the range of technical and “human” skills required by industry.
For an individual, an investment in education unleashes potential, opportunity and choice. For a nation, that investment unleashes productivity, prosperity and equality.