The National Marine Science Plan (2015) calls for a workforce of world-class marine scientists equipped with strong quantitative skills, in tune with industry and government priorities, and working in cross-disciplinary teams.
In 2019, the NMSC led a study to assess the capacity of Australia’s university postgraduate training to cultivate this essential workforce.
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ADVICE FOR POSTGRADUATE MARINE SCIENCE STUDENTS
WHAT WE FOUND
Marine sector graduates and students reported low participation in internships cadetships, and/or work placements.
- Employers want to recruit staff that have the adaptability and flexibility to work across disciplines on complex projects.
- Students need advice on how to research the priorities of their target employers.
- Obtain industry experience through internships or volunteer opportunities.
- Be aware of the importance of personal attributes valued by employers: problem solving, time management, written and oral communication, adaptability, flexibility and teamwork.
- Consider postgraduate programs that offer advanced coursework across a range of disciplines and programs that can equip you with high-level quantitative skills.
SKILLS VALUED BY EMPLOYERS
HOW UNIVERSITIES CAN HELP DRIVE THE BLUE ECONOMY
WHAT WE FOUND
- Employers had difficulty finding graduates with expertise in social science, quantitative fisheries science, water quality, engineering and mathematics.
- One third of employers anticipated changes in the disciplinary knowledge needs of their organisation in the next decade.
- Offer coursework programs that are cross-disciplinary and problem-focussed.
- Work to attract undergraduate and postgraduate students to marine science from under-represented fields like biophysical science and social science disciplines.
- Assist postgraduate students to be ‘job ready’ via workshops, seminars, coursework and informal support.
- Foster industry internships and work placements in Australia and overseas, industry engagement scholarships and industry-embedded PhDs.
Participants from universities, students and employers contributed to the report via a combination of surveys, submissions and interviews.