An aging Australian population has been identified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as our nation’s biggest change in population over the next 10 years. With continued industry disruption due to innovation and a climbing retirement age, studies project that an increasing number of people will return to tertiary education to upskill or change their career.
These non-traditional students have different expectations and needs from those of school leavers. There will also be less public support and legislative support to finance an educational system designed to service the needs of younger students over the varied needs of a more age-diverse student body.
As this trend unfolds, we need to continually assess our campuses' evolving role as social and educational centers within communities. Furthermore, focusing on increased flexibility in our learning tools (via app-based and online delivery of content) will help non-traditional age students to achieve their learning outcomes.