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Partnerships the path to region’s success

Release Date: 7/06/2019
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, has stressed the importance of partnerships between education and industry to building economic and employment opportunities for the region, in an address to more than 150 business and government leaders today.
Speaking at a Hunter Business Chamber lunch at Surf House, Professor Zelinsky said the region had to ensure it was skilling enough people to grasp emerging opportunities in the technology sector.
He nominated Defence as an area of huge potential growth for the region following the arrival at Williamtown of the Joint Strike Fighter Program, which at $17 billion nationally is the largest acquisition in RAAF history, with potential to create 5,500 jobs, including many in the Hunter.
“When you look at that Defence transformation, one of the biggest drivers behind that is digital technologies,” Professor Zelinsky said.
“I call the Joint Strike Fighter ‘software with wings’. There’s 20 million lines of code on that machine and it’s much more complicated in terms of software than the other aspects of it.
“This is what we call the fourth industrial revolution, and we [the region] really need to be part of it.”
The University consulted with industry leaders in Defence aviation to develop a new degree program, launched this year, to equip students with the skills to work in the field.

Professor Zelinsky said the University’s planned $200 million STEMM building on the Callaghan campus would play a significant role in “bringing industry on to the campus” and enhancing collaboration between higher education and industry.

Hunter Business Chamber President Hennie du Plooy said the Chamber applauded the University’s focus on fostering greater cooperation between sectors.

“The University continues to play an integral role in shaping our region’s future workforce and economic profile,” Mr du Plooy said.

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