Pilbara universities centre to provide local jobs pathway

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
The Karratha Quarter.
Camera IconThe Karratha Quarter. Credit: Pilbara News, Tom Zaunmayr

The Pilbara Universities Centre, which recently started providing administrative and student support, is on a mission to create the most work-ready graduates in the country.

Speaking at the Developing Northern Australia Conference earlier this month, PUC director Susan Grylls said the centre would have a focus on developing industry networks and connections for the students.

“It will mean our graduates’ ability to secure a job post-graduation is higher than anywhere else in the nation,” she said.

The PUC is a community-owned and operated university centre — not a university — which partners with existing universities to provide a supported tertiary distance education service.

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The centre has signed the first partnership agreement with Central Queensland University, is in talks with Curtin University, and will eventually offer supported learning bachelor degrees in nursing, education, commerce, psychology, social work and applied engineering.

Ms Grylls said what made the PUC different is that nowhere in the world would there be such significant industry activity and operations on the doorstep of a university facility.

“The PUC will leverage its unique geographical location to offer tertiary education that will contain a significant practical and work experience element that will increase our graduates’ ability to secure local employment upon graduation,” she said.

Upcoming projects planned for the Pilbara will create tens of thousands of jobs over the next five years and beyond, and Ms Grylls believes fly-in, fly-out is not the answer to filling those roles.

“Human resources scoping has been undertaken by these companies, but not to the level which plans where workers are going to come from and what skills they’re going to require,” she said.

It is thought the PUC will be able to fill that gap by providing local employees ready with the skills and training that each of those individual projects require.

Services offered by the PUC will ramp up over the coming months and will eventually include administrative and pastoral support, live streamed lectures from the university the students elect to study with, local face-to-face tutorials,4 and student networks.

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