THE University of Ballarat is having a major effect on the Victorian economy, generating more than $500 million and 2000 jobs a year, according to a new report into regional universities.
Analysis also shows that nearly three-quarters of those with bachelor degrees from the university were initially employed in a regional location.
University of Ballarat (UB) vice-chancellor Professor David Battersby said the effect was the result of the university’s higher education programs and research output.
He said the boost to the state economy would have been in excess of $1 billion and 4000 jobs annually had the report taken into account the technology park, TAFE and overseas initiatives.
The contribution would continue to grow as UB expands, he believed.
“What it does confirm is in a city like Ballarat the university is so integrally woven into the fabric of the region,” he said, adding that the figures put higher education on par with the local health sector in terms of economic impact. The flow-on employment is quite significant in terms of what it brings to the region.”
In the Ballarat area, it was found that UB contributed $359 million and 1400 jobs to the local community.
In Horsham, where the university also has a campus, the boost was $5 million and 18 jobs.
The report is the result of analysis commissioned by the Regional Universities Network, a peak body representing the interests of six of the major regional universities.
Professor Battersby said he had taken the report to Canberra along with other universities to show politicians the importance of higher education in regional areas.
“We’re contributing to the fact that universities provide a skilled workforce and a significant amount of added value to the region in which they’re located.”
He also said that, based on data from the 2011 Census, those in the region with university qualifications generally commanded higher pay than workers with no qualifications.