Chesters backs new La Trobe engineering degree

Federal member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, today congratulated La Trobe University and the Bendigo manufacturing industry for their collaboration to develop the new Bachelor of Engineering (Honours).

This morning local manufacturers and stakeholders were briefed by Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Science, Health and Engineering, Prof. Graham Schaffer, on a new engineering program at the La Trobe University Department of Engineering Industry Breakfast.

In an Australian first, this degree will guarantee all Bendigo students a six-month work placement via their Work Integrated Learning program that includes a $10,000 tax free scholarship.

Ms Chesters said the course offers exciting opportunities for engineering students and local industry.

"What a great opportunity for young men and women who want an engineering career,” Ms Chesters said. “This course will ensure more regional kids receive a world class practical education right here in Bendigo.”
Ms Chesters said local manufacturers have been passionately advocating for the new degree for some time. She congratulated our local manufacturers and industry stakeholders for playing a proactive role in developing the new courses.

"Bendigo and Central Victoria has a proud engineering and manufacturing history that goes back over 100 years. The Sunshine Harvester, which modernised farming in the late 1800s, was first developed and manufactured in Central Victoria.

"It's a great example of what can be achieved when local industry works with a local university to develop and ultimately deliver the skilled professionals companies need.

"What is great about this new course is that current students can enrol in the program. From next month the university expects to have current university engineering students transferring. This means graduates should be ready to enter the workforce at the end of 2017.”

Ms Chesters said more needed to be done at a Federal level to ensure young people heading into university get the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

"The only piece of the puzzle missing is the partnership from the Federal Government. Their proposal to deregulate universities and introduce $100,000 degrees will be a barrier for some students.

“Labor has a positive plan for more graduates and sustainable university funding. Unlike the Liberals, Labor will invest in every student to ensure more Australians graduate with the skills and knowledge they need for the jobs of the future.

"The Federal Liberal Government should get behind Labor's plan for Higher Education.

"There's a lot of talk in Canberra about innovation, STEM and the need to be agile. Bendigo can be really proud that we are doing it and not just talking about it.”