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COVID-19 Causes Spike In Study Interest | First Ever Trans-Tasman Higher Education Virtual Expo

COVID-19 restrictions have driven the interest of Australians and New Zealanders to undertake higher education study. With people working from home or out of work as a result of the pandemic, many are looking at further study to continue their learning, further develop their career or transition to a new (potentially less vulnerable) sector.

The first-ever virtual higher education expo showcasing post-graduate and undergraduate study options for domestic and international students will be held on Tuesday (14 July), featuring 48 higher education institutions and industry partners from across the Tasman.

The expo hall at the event will include virtual tours, webcasts, seminars, live presentations, Q&A sessions, online chats with academics and on-demand content from all exhibitors, which can be accessed from the comfort of home.

The initiative, driven by Torrens University Australia, is a significant collaboration by Australian and New Zealand higher education institutions and other organisations in order to address one of many challenges currently facing prospective higher education students.

Prior to COVID-19 triggered restrictions, post-graduates and undergraduates attended university open days or on-campus events to consolidate their interest in a particular institution. This innovative expo will provide the same access to information, contact with academic leaders and university tours all in a virtual environment.

The expo’s platform will hold up to 3,000 concurrent attendees with more than 20 special live presentations for attendees to enjoy.

Torrens University has seen a strong growth in enrolments, particularly in post-graduate business programs since June, with applications for postgraduate programs increasing by more than 170% in some courses. High demand programs include sectors that have become increasingly relevant during the pandemic, including Public Health, Counselling, Software Engineering and Project Management.

Torrens University Australia Vice President of Public Affairs Bryce Ives said the virtual expo demonstrates the capacity for the higher education sectors in Australia and New Zealand to adapt, innovate and collaborate.

“This post-graduate and undergraduate expo follows the extremely successful virtual expos we hosted for school leavers in May and June, with 14,000 attendees in Australia and a further 5,000 in New Zealand. So we know the demand for this offering is strong,” Bryce Ives said.

“Given the similar challenges Australia and New Zealand have right now, for example with physical access to campuses and access for international students due to border restrictions, it made sense for institutions in the two countries to collaborate on hosting this online event.”

“Importantly, given the current COVID-19 climate, we will showcase our capability as a university which provides fully online learning, as will many of the other exhibitors.”

Vice-Chancellor of Torrens University, Professor Alwyn Louw, said the expo will offer a unique and quality experience for attendees.

“Prospective post-graduate students come to us with the expectation of access to and interaction with academic staff. They already have some level of understanding of graduate courses and career outcomes,” Professor Louw said.

“This expo requires the exhibitors to provide a higher level of expertise, in the provision of quality information and spokespeople, which is why the attendees will engage directly with academics to discuss their options and ask questions. These are the people who could be teaching them in the near future.”

The expo is expected to attract thousands of prospective post-graduate and undergraduate students from across Australia and New Zealand, as well as international students and student agents.

“We are pleased to provide this opportunity to enable post-graduates and undergraduates to explore the next step in their journeys just as we continue to offer free On-Demand Short Courses to the public till the end of the year,” Bryce Ives said.

“Since April more than 10,000 of these free courses have been completed.”

For information and to register, go to www.torrens.edu.au. Once attendees register, they will receive email instructions on how to attend.

Sample list of Australian exhibitors

Torrens University Australia

Monash University

Deakin University

RMIT

Swinburne University

University of Tasmania

University of Sydney

Macquarie University

Victoria University

Federation University

Charles Darwin University

Kaplan Business School

University of Western Sydney

University of Wollongong

Southern Cross University

Charles Sturt University

University of New England Australian Catholic University

Murdoch University

University of Canberra

Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School

University of Queensland

Griffith University

University of Southern Queensland

University of Adelaide

Flinders University

James Cook University

Central Queensland University

University of Notre Dame

Bond University

Edith Cowan University

Curtin University

DXC Technology

International School of Management Sydney (ICMS)

New Zealand exhibitors

Media Design School

University of Auckland

AUT

University of Waikato

University of Canterbury

Lincoln University

Victoria University of Wellington

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