Today, the Committee for Melbourne launches Melbourne ̶ a prosperous future: World-leading international student city, a strategy paper that identifies priorities for improving Melbourne’s brand and value proposition as a destination for international students.
Committee for Melbourne CEO Kate Roffey says that we cannot afford to undervalue the importance of the international education sector as an economic driver and cultural connector.
“As our biggest export sector, international education is critically important in a dollar sense. Last financial year, it contributed $4.7 billion to the Victorian economy and supported an estimated 38,000 full-time equivalent jobs in Victoria, most of them in Melbourne. But it is not just the dollars that are vital. Our international students also improve our cultural awareness and help build important global connections”, she said.
The growing awareness of the value of the international education sector is clearly evident via the increasingly aggressive competition that is opening up worldwide in this market.
“While we have always competed with markets like the UK and New Zealand, some very strong moves by the US to significantly increase the number of international students studying onshore should have us sitting up and taking some serious notice” says Ms Roffey.
“Melbourne has some great strengths in the international student space. Our education institutions are world-class and our liveability is second to none ̶ but we face some significant issues in terms of the competitiveness of our offering. The cost to live in Melbourne is still relatively high, the jobs market is tight, and the accommodation market is not providing enough suitable and affordable options, so we do have work to do to retain and build on our hard-earned status as one of the world’s top international student destinations”, notes Ms Roffey.
Through our work with our members and other key stakeholders the Committee has identified three key priority areas for improvement – Brand Melbourne, Study Melbourne and Live Melbourne.
As CEO Kate Roffey says “if we are to maintain our strong brand as a student city, we must remain vigilant in acknowledging threats, and where possible undertake strategies to minimise their risk and impact as well as capitalise on opportunities”.
Priorities for building Melbourne’s position as a world-leading international student city
Brand Melbourne ̶ Attracting international students
• Vision: develop a long-term strategic vision for international education in Melbourne
• Promotion: work harder to collectively promote Melbourne to prospective international students
Study Melbourne ̶ A quality education
• Quality: maintain and build on the world-class academic reputation of our education institutions by continuing to set the standards that will encourage all institutions to aspire to excellence
• International profile: elevate the international reputation of education institutions across Melbourne and Victoria to ensure our education and research opportunities are highly sought after on a global scale
• Study-related work opportunities: improve connections between international students and job opportunities
• English language proficiency: address shortcomings in English language proficiency outcomes to become a major strength that will add to the attraction of a Melbourne-based international education
Live Melbourne ̶ A quality experience
• Accommodation: find more suitable and affordable accommodation options for international students in the short term
• Transport: apply the same access to public transport concessions to international students that we do to domestic students
• Cultural engagement: work harder to improve social connectedness
• Health: make it easier for international students to understand and access the Australian health system
• Safety: do more in practical terms to both strengthen our welcoming attitude toward international students and promote our record as a safe city
• Communication: provide more easily understood and readily accessible information for international students online and face-to-face.