Universities unable to keep up with the high demand for occupational safety professionals, survey says

Universities failed to keep up with the increasing demand for workplace safety professionals, a survey released Tuesday revealed.

According to the survey conducted by SafeSearch, the “pipeline of qualified professionals graduating from universities are diminishing,” as corporate Australia struggles to meet demand for work safety.

The survey showed majority of respondents emphasized the importance of qualifications in this increasingly complex area. SafeSearch Managing Director Julie Honore said this was misaligned with the limited availability of bachelor-level OHS qualifications.

“Queensland and Western Australia are currently the only states that offer a total of four OHS courses for undergraduates in Australia,” said Director Honore.

“Clearly these states have felt the demand from the resources companies for qualified safety professionals, while undergraduates in other states have few options.”

The Registrar for the Australian OHS Education Accreditation board, Pam Pryor said that the lack of undergraduate courses “threatens the supply of technically competent and broadly skilled OHS professionals.” She however noted that “to focus only on the Bachelor degrees downplays the importance of the entry level graduate diploma and masters programs which produce a steady stream of OHS graduates.”

According to Ms Honore, the survey repeatedly highlighted the need for a mixture of tertiary education and formalized mentoring as well as training programs on the job.

“Our respondents recognise that OHS has to be a top priority in their business. They stated that the intellectual rigor and foundation knowledge attained from an undergraduate degree is essential for driving change and continuous improvement in OHS.”

“It seems that our education system as it stands is not keeping up with the demand. If you can’t access this education at the undergraduate level, then you have missed out on a large potential supply of candidates.”


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