CQUniversity Australia is getting ready to boost opportunities for STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) study in the region thanks to several new projects to support course delivery.
The new projects include an aviation training facility that will be based at the existing Tom MacDonald building at Cairns Airport, a sports science education and research precinct based at Cairns Basketball Stadium and a heavy equipment engineering lab located on Buchan Street.
CQUniversity Cairns Associate Vice-Chancellor Jodie Duignan George explained that the infrastructure projects would see the University grow its city footprint and facilitate better direct engagement with industry.
“As Australia’s most engaged university it ultimately makes sense to co-locate with industry and ensure that our focus reflects the future needs of the region”, Ms Duignan-George said.
“When completed, the aviation hub and the sports science centre will be the only facilities of their kind and will allow the University to deliver education, training and research that is completely embedded in industry.”
Ms Duignan-George explained that student demand for STEM courses was also driving the University’s investment in new facilities.
“Demand for STEM-related courses is growing across the board and CQUniversity is responding to this demand and the needs of our communities and industry.
“A good example is that CQUniversity has offered a full engineering course since the Cairns Square campus opened and students can choose to specialise in civil, mechanical or electrical engineering.
“Prior to us offering this course in Cairns, students would need to relocate south to complete an engineering degree, so it has proved to be a very popular course.
“Due to this demand we have recently established a heavy equipment lab worth more than half a million dollars on Buchan Street, Portsmith.
“This new lab provides students with access to classroom and breakout spaces plus equipment such as a Universal Testing Machine, concrete compression machines, and thermodynamic and soil testing equipment,” said Ms Duignan-George.
“We are finding that engineering continues to be a very popular course offering across the University, thanks in part to the fact that CQUniversity’s engineering school is ranked amongst the top 300 in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Subject Rankings.
“On top of this, our engineering graduates are in high demand with CQUniversity graduates enjoying some of the best employment outcomes in Australia.
“National Quality Indicators in Learning and Teaching (QILT) data shows that 83% of CQUni engineering graduates find full-time employment within three months of graduation and that their average starting salary is $75,000 (a figure that is well ahead of the national average of $63,000).”
“I think our graduates are in such high demand because CQUniversity places such a strong emphasis on work integrated learning and industry collaboration, not just in engineering but across all of our learning disciplines,” said Ms George.