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Distance Education: The Choice For A Changing Workforce

Australia’s ageing population has serious implications for the country’s future workforce as studies reveal that not enough young people are entering the labour market.

It is estimated that by 2016, 80 per cent of the workforce growth will have to come from people aged over 45 years.

“Distance education (DE) is proving one way for Australia to keep “Real Age” or experienced career people in the workforce longer to help overcome skill shortages,” says Nicholas Ricciuti, Managing Director of Everybody’s Career Company.

“If you’re passionate about what you do each day you will want to remain in the workforce longer. Distance education gives otherwise uninformed ‘Real Age’ workers the ability to move towards
reinventing or up-skilling their career.

“Since more and more people are reinventing their careers, distance education will become the way forward for Australian universities,” Mr Ricciuti says.

One Australian institution that has long recognised the value of distance education for educating a professional workforce is Charles Sturt University (CSU).

As Australia’s largest provider of distance education, with more than 16 600 domestic students enrolled in 2007, CSU delivers higher education to students through its comprehensive online communication system, allowing them to study from anywhere in the world.

“At CSU, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to attain higher education. If you are unable to physically attend university due to distance, work or family commitments, or simply love the freedom of being completely independent, then distance education could be the answer,” says CSU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Ross Chambers.

“CSU pioneered the development of courses by distance delivery for the professions. It showed that professionally accredited programs in science, business, health and human services could be delivered successfully and effectively in all modes of study.

“Contemporary online support and interactions have made distance education programs even more accessible and effective,” he says.

“Our DE students receive the same top-level education as those who choose to study on campus.”

In the 2007 graduate survey from the Australian Centre for Educational Research, CSU graduates ranked the University’s courses above average in such areas as learning related to the workplace, use of work experience or internships in their courses and acquiring work related knowledge.

Media Note: Professor Ross Chambers, contact CSU Media at or telephone 02 6051 9906.

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