Warwick residents less likely to have degrees

SOUTHERN Downs residents are less likely to have studied since they finished school than their counterparts in Brisbane.

But our changing economy means we will soon need them.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show at the last Census 44.7% of Warwick and Southern Downs residents had studied after completing high school.

This compared to 61.2% of Brisbane residents with post-school qualifications.

These include certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, bachelor degrees and post-graduate qualifications. 

The gap is most pronounced in university degrees.

On the Southern Downs 9.1% of residents had a bachelor degree or higher, compared to 28.7% in Brisbane.

But 19.4% of Southern Downs residents had a certificate qualification compared to just 14.4% in Brisbane.

Regional Universities Network chair Jan Thomas said the entire country benefited from regional Australia becoming more educated as traditional employers became more reliant on automation and technology.

Prof Thomas said we needed all Australians to be as educated as possible to compete internationally.

"It is unreasonable to think (regional Australians) don't have the same access to education as their metropolitan counterparts," she said.

Similarly, Regional Australia Institute chief executive officer Jack Archer said creating "jobs of the future" in regional areas would need a more educated population.

"That's our key challenge. We know that the traditional jobs in regional areas are being challenged," Mr Archer said.

Federal Minister for Education Simon Birmingham said the Coalition was committed to ensuring regional students had access to tertiary education equal to city colleagues.

Similarly, shadow minister for education Kim Carr said Labor was committed to ensuring fair access to universities for regional Australians.

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