Yearn to learn boosting Sunshine Coast brain gain

Wednesday 14 June, 2017

The Sunshine Coast’s education sector is predicted to grow 50 per cent in the next 15 years.

More than 60,000 students are currently studying at local schools, university or one of the 180 registered training institutions.

The region is home to the nationally awarded University of the Sunshine Coast and some of Queensland’s highest performing private schools.

With the Sunshine Coast population expected to grow from 298,000 to 470,000 within two decades, there is an increased need for education and training in the development and delivery of an extra 100,000 high value jobs.

More than 30,000 local businesses will need education and training services in that period.

The Sunshine Coast Council is already thinking ahead, with the development of an Industry Investment Plan to help further develop and grow the education and research industry, plus knowledge and professional services industry.

High-speed broadband is vital, and is available across areas of the Sunshine Coast, with many suburbs currently being connected to the National Broadband Network.

One education and research business that has stepped into the Sunshine Coast market with great success is STEPS Groups Australia (pictured), a not-for-profit organisation committed to providing opportunities for people.

Steps

STEPS set up on the coast as a small community group 26 years ago and today delivers range of services across Australia reflecting the diverse needs of the community.

STEPS Education and Training works closely with local industries to ensure needs are met developing training courses that provide skills for work. The training ranges from an International English College, aged care and first aid training, to language, literacy and numeracy training throughout regional and remote areas.

Carmel Crouch, Managing Director of STEPS Group Australia, said the Sunshine Coast was the ideal location to base the organisation’s education and training operation.

“STEPS Group Australia delivers a diverse range of services to meet the diverse needs of our communities. We work with Sunshine Coast residents and businesses to create inclusive workplaces, we design training courses that meet local needs and we host a range of community services and social ventures aimed at enriching the lives of others,” she said.

Ms Crouch said as long time advocates of integrated workplaces, STEPS assists people with disabilities gain work in mainstream employment, and works with local businesses to break down perceptions around employing people with a disability.

STEPS injects almost $2 million into the Sunshine Coast economy each year, with more than 350 staff, and a head office there supporting 23 sites across Australia.

Sunshine Coast private schools have proved themselves to be top of the class when it comes to student OP results. The Queensland Curriculum & Assessment Authority recently released the Year 12 outcomes and three figured in the tops schools in the state, including Matthew Flinders Anglican College, St Andrews Anglican College and Sunshine Coast Grammar School.

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