Recently the Federal Government has pushed states to adopt a more unified national educational structure, which includes starting and leaving ages, standard tests and a national curriculum.
The Education and Training sector in Australia
The Australian education and training sector has a great reputation in all areas of learning. It is a
key area of policy for the Government and market similarities can facilitate entry for British
Australia’s economy continues to be one of the strongest in the world. While the strength of the
Australian dollar has caused problems for some local companies, it has made imported goods
and services more attractive.
Education in Australia was modelled initially on the British system, with primary and secondary
education being followed by vocational or university education. This system is still in place but
over the years provision of education has become uneven across the country because it is
regulated by state governments. Recently the Federal Government has pushed states to adopt a
more unified national structure, which includes starting and leaving ages, standard tests and a
national curriculum. Some of this is still in the process of being introduced.
Recent trends include:
ξ A Federal Government initiative to ensure universal access to preschools, including the
provision of preschool education in long day care centres.
ξ A growth in enrolments in private schools. There are now 1.2 million students in private
establishments, with 2.3 million in government schools. Private schools receive significant
funding from government sources but retain a good deal of autonomy.
ξ In universities the demand for postgraduate courses has grown faster than that for
undergraduate courses, as higher educational qualifications are becoming necessary for
ξ Online education is growing at almost 20% per annum and earns around A$4.7 billion. It
is becoming more acceptable to educators and students, though face-to-face education is
still preferred by many. Currently most online education is delivered by existing ‘bricks
and mortar’ providers.
The Australian education sector is well-developed and caters for most student requirements, but
government sponsored reports have indicated problems in some areas, resulting in the increased
focus on the area and significant government spending in recent years. There is an opportunity
for sophisticated and innovative goods and services from the UK.
Areas of interest include:
ξ Preschools, which are expected to experience the fastest growth of all areas. The Federal
Government allocated A$500 million to achieve universal access. The aim is that by 2013
all 4-year olds will have access to preschool education for 15 hours a week for 40 weeks in
the year before starting primary school. The Government has also introduced the Early
Years Workforce Strategy between 2012 and 2016 to increase the number of skilled and
professional early childhood educators.
ξ Government programs for schools include:
ξ The Digital Education Revolution, with a budget of A$2.1 billion, to support the
integration of new technology in schools.
ξ Smarter Schools National Partnerships, with collaboration between state and
Federal governments to improve teacher quality, with a budget of A$550 million.
ξ The Trade Training Centres Program, with a budget of A$2.5 billion for 10 years
from 2008, to build infrastructure to “develop vital skills and talents”.
ξ There is a move towards a more demand-driven system in higher education and the
Government aims to produce an additional 217,000 graduates by 2025. In 2009 the Federal
Government pledged a budget of A$5.4 billion over four years to support higher education
and research, with an estimated A$1.8 billion to be spent in 2012-13.
ξ In the skills and training area the long-running Education Investment Fund aims to renew
and refurbish vocational education and training institutions. There is also the recently
announced National Workforce Development Fund, with a budget of $700 million over
five years to support training and workforce development “in areas of current and future
Online education will continue to grow and will be boosted by the National Broadband Network
(NBN) being introduced into Australia, which will increase the number of internet connections
and boost the speed of data across the country. The NBN Enabled Education and Skill Services
Program, launched in May 2011, will provide A$27.2 million over four years to provide online
and interactive education and training projects.
Latest export opportunities in the Education and Training sector
Latest export opportunities in Australia
Getting into market
There are strong traditional links between the UK and Australia, including in the education
sector. Doing business is relatively straightforward, though it is important to be aware of the
frequent policy and regulatory changes in this sector.
More about doing business in Australia
Richard Harper, British Consulate-General, Sydney. Tel: +61 (0)2 8247 2233 or email:
Lorraine Upton, British Consulate-General, Sydney. Tel: +61 (0)2 8247 220d or email:
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events in the Education and Training sector
Date: 3-5 June 2013
Website address: www.edutech.net.au
2013 Early Childhood Education Conference
Date: 31 May-1 June
Website address: www.togetherwegrow.com.au
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters