Flinders to strengthen southern links with grant

Flinders University’s ambition to expand tertiary education, contribute to the skills required in a changing regional economy and engage with the community has been boosted with a $3.25 million grant from the Federal Government.

The Southern Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Program (SKTP) will see Flinders staff and students increasing their contact with community organisations, businesses and government agencies in a partnership designed to deliver enhanced skills, knowledge and innovation.

At the heart of the Program will be a two-way exchange of people and information required to address the changing nature of the regional economy where the loss of traditional large scale employers are being replaced with job opportunities in such areas as the environment, medical devices, robotics and education services.

Flinders Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, said the University was delighted to have received the $3.25 million grant from the Diversity and Structural Adjustment Fund.

“Flinders was founded on a principle of making university study as widely accessible as possible and contributing to the State’s skills development, and we have made substantial progress in that regard,” Professor Barber said.

“However, this significant funding injection will add a major new dimension to that ambition and ensure that our teaching and research efforts align with the demands of a rapidly changing economy and reflect the needs and desires of the community in the southern regions of Adelaide,” he said.

Key elements of the SKTP Program are the establishment and maintenance of two way partnerships to promote:

  • innovation and redevelopment in Flinders curriculum through specialist courses focussing on areas of regional workforce need and generalist degrees, to improve the skills of graduates to better meet the needs of industry; and
  • the enhancement of the capabilities of the labour force, the sharing and embedding of knowledge and innovation in the southern region.

“The SKTP Program, which represents a large and ambitious shift in the way the University and region engage with each other, will result in real and practical outcomes for the University and the region,” Professor Barber said.

“These include better responsiveness to labour force needs, enhancement to the University’s teaching, learning and research, and a contribution to the economic and social revival of Adelaide’s south,” he said.

“Put simply, the community is looking to the University to produce the skills required for employment in the modern economy and Flinders wants to make sure that we know what that rapidly changing workplace requires.

“One element of that goal is reflected in the University’s initial aim to have an additional 500-1000 students undertake some form of placement or mentoring in the southern region as part of their degree,” he said.

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