The global pandemic has been incredibly challenging for business, industry and communities across Queensland. Education and training has been significantly impacted, alongside other key industries including the arts and recreation industry, tourism, media and communications, with rapid innovation, agile decision-making and proactivity rather than reactivity required in order to survive and thrive.

The University of Southern Queensland has worked hard over the past 18 months to adapt quickly to support our students, our research partners, our regional communities and our State to continue to achieve and succeed during the pandemic. We now look ahead with renewed vigour to a reimagined future for our University and our communities. As we strive for renewed growth in a post-pandemic world, economic policy must strategically drive key value propositions in technology, the digital economy, social capital, new ways of doing business, and jobs of the future.

Skills must be central to any economic policy and if Queensland is going to be globally competitive, the role of universities in producing a skilled workforce must be acknowledged and supported by government at all levels. We are experiencing a fundamental transformation in the way we work, competition for talent is fierce, and the influence of artificial intelligence, automation and technological innovation cannot be underestimated. Universities can, and must, play a key role in informing and underpinning this transformation, through working with business and industry to identify skills gaps and shortages, developing educational programs to address these, and providing ongoing education and development to our State’s workforce.

Key issues such as climate change, water security, digital connectivity, housing availability and affordability remain priorities for Queensland’s economic future, and the research undertaken by universities will be central to achieving these priorities. The University of Southern Queensland will have a pivotal role in continuing to work with our regional communities in particular, to drive innovation and investment in real-world solutions for business and industry, as we enter into the post-pandemic world.

The future prosperity and success of our State will rely heavily on our collective ability to work together across government, business, industry and community. The University of Southern Queensland is eager to play its part in reinvigorating and reimagining our State.