Education is at our core! Last week, our team attended the 2019 Tertiary Education Management Conference (TEMC) in Adelaide. Our contingent was led by Head of Business Development, Chris Priftis and Senior Project Manager, Panayiota Koutroulis.
The theme of this year’s Conference was "Distilling Ideas" where industry stakeholders across Australia and New Zealand came together to discuss experiences, trends and new ideas that are shaping learning and the built environment. Some of the headline topics and trends discussed were;
Australian universities are continually evolving as are the requirements of the various cohorts. At the University of WA, they undertook four weeks of research which included 2,300 polls from their students. They determined the following high priorities; affordable living, safety around campus, connectivity through the built form and technology, which combined promotes inclusiveness and collaboration between both students and staff. These priorities highlight the need for detailed master planning where the campus and facilities are human centric. The idea is to create a vibrant, inclusive and engaging campus experience for all students, staff and visitors.
According to research from Savills, a record $1.46B has been invested in this sector, in 2019 alone. There is so much pent up demand for accommodation with 6+ students available for every bed. The demand is largely underpinned by the growing Chinese student cohort, who have a desire to study in Australia’s high ranking universities. We do not see this demand tapering in the medium-term and we anticipate that new facilities will be constructed across metropolitan and regional campuses. The attractiveness of the sector is also leading to a number of new third party investors, who are collaborating with universities to deliver the product. The Education sector is now Australia's third-largest export, contributing a whopping $37.7B to our economy every year.
Energy and the technology it powers have become fundamental to our quality of life. Australian universities are advocating for a world where our planet can thrive and future generations can enjoy it and have established aggressive targets to reduce and/or eliminate their carbon footprint. This has led to wholesale changes in the design and construction of many buildings whereby smart design and new technologies have been adopted. The technologies include but are not limited to, cross-laminated timber renewable energy through rooftop solar panels and all-electric thermal plants. The focus is on health and comfort, as well as creating economical and sustainable benefits. Recent examples include Monash University’s 150 bed student accommodation development at their Peninsula Campus, known as ‘Gilles Hall’.
Employment and Innovation Clusters
Employment and innovation clusters will drive the next wave of jobs in major metropolitan cities including Melbourne. This is evident by La Trobe University’s ambitious plan to deliver education facilities for 40,000 students, a major sports precinct, student accommodation, health amenity, child care, a research precinct, a commercial precinct and cultural centre. Located 15km’s north east of Melbourne’s CBD, this initiative is seeking to reshape the work-life balance for staff and creating greater connectivity for students with affordable options. The 10 year development will provide 20,000 new jobs and will attract 15,000 new students, with the overall investment estimated at $5B.
The Future of Academic workplace
Although there has been push back from some end-users, universities have started to make the move to flexible and trans-disciplinary workspaces. This is likely to afford universities the ability to increase the efficiency of their workspace and creates an interesting change management piece.
From our perspective, we recognise the importance in remaining agile and the need for ongoing collaboration with both industry peers and our tertiary clients. The best solution is always one part best practice, one part new idea.