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Australia: Queensland eyes 20% market share

A draft strategy for Queensland’s international education industry has set a goal to capture 20% market share of Australia’s international students by 2026.

Sarah Todd (left), part of the expert reference group appointed to develop the strategy, and Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Jackie Trad.

With the right strategy in place, the industry could be worth an annual A$7.5bn in export income

The Draft International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-2026, backed by A$25.3m in state funding over five years, set the target as part of strengthening the state’s position within Australia’s international education industry.

“Last year, Queensland’s international education and training sector generated A$2.9bn in export revenue and supported around 19,000 jobs, making it the state’s second-largest service export behind tourism,” said Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Jackie Trad.

“Queensland’s proportion of the Australian international education market has slipped in recent years relative to other states”

Trad said that “with the right strategy in place”, the industry could be worth an annual A$7.5bn in export income, according to a recent Deloitte report commissioned by Trade and Investment Queensland.

Four imperatives were outlined to achieve the goal: promoting Queensland internationally; enhancing the student experience; strengthening the state’s regions; and connecting the international education and training industry.

The strategy lays out steps to meet these imperatives, including supporting airline capacity growth, courting overseas media and celebrities who can endorse the state’s education offering, and leveraging alumni networks to create global ambassadors.

Queensland currently holds Australia’s third largest portion of international students, but increasing its share from 16% to 20% may pose a significant challenge.

“Queensland’s proportion of the Australian international education market has slipped in recent years relative to other states, particularly Victoria and New South Wales,” commented Sarah Todd, vice president (global) at Griffith University, who was part of the six person expert reference group appointed to develop the strategy.

While the state has seen growth, increases to 2015 student numbers were below the national average, which were predominantly driven by New South Wales and Victoria.

Patrick Hafenstein, Study Queensland group manager at Trade and Investment Queensland, said one of the factors subduing growth is a lack of awareness: “Not everybody’s heard of Brisbane, or not everyone’s heard of Cairns [the state’s fifth biggest city].”

Refreshing the ‘Study Queensland’ brand is therefore a key component of the draft strategy, along with targeted marketing campaigns.

Study Cairns president Carol Doyle, who was also part of the expert reference group, told The PIE News an increased focus on regions outside of state capital Brisbane would help drive growth.

“This is a main point of difference to other Australian states where their international education sector is mainly city based.”

The finalised strategy and implementation plan will be published later this year.

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