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  • Crispin Till

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    TNQ's tertiary institutions score top marks in latest rankings for universities

    TNQ’s two tertiary institutions, CQUniversity and James Cook University, are scoring top marks when it comes to graduate outcomes ahead of some of their larger metropolitan rivals.

    CQUniversity is ranked fourth nationally for graduate outcomes, including median salary and full-time employment, according to the latest Good Universities Guide.

    The figures show the median wage for CQU graduates is $60,000 and 80.6 per cent of its graduates are in full-time employment within four months of finishing their studies.

    James Cook University’s graduates are earning a median wage of $58,000 and it was ranked in eighth place for graduate employment at 74.9 per cent.

    Both CQU and JCU are well above the national average, which is $56,000 for graduate salaries and 69.5 per cent for students finding full-time work after their degree.

    The latest rankings come on the back of CQU's announcement in late July it was looking at undertaking a $54 million expansion plan in Cairns, with the centrepiece being a $30 million permanent CBD campus with the university already outgrowing its campus at Cairns Square.

    Nationally, University of Southern Queensland leads the way with a median graduate salary of $61,000 and 82.5 per cent of graduates in full-time work four months after completing their courses.


    The results reinforce the quality of tertiary education on offer in TNQ with CQU's associate vice-chancellor for Cairns and the Far North Jodie Duignan-George saying the high ranking underlined the university's focus on strong programs and commitment to working with the community.

    “We are a values-based organisation with a focus on engagement and inclusiveness behind everything we do,” she said.

    “Our model is to focus on regions, including TNQ, and have associate vice-chancellors going out and talking to the community, asking what they need, where the gaps are, how we can improve and what they want to see from our graduates."


    Strong engagement with students, staff and the business community starts early and continues throughout courses with Jodie saying this opens more opportunities for students in regional areas that they would not get at a metropolitan university.

    “We do a lot of work to engage with the industry during courses and the TNQ business community is open and wants to engage with us and our students," she said.

    "Industry is not just looking for a graduate with skills but some experience as well and a lot of our students are doing part-time work during their degrees.

    "We are trying to provide graduates with the skills needed, and the experience to get a job in their chosen field at the end of their study."


    While the ranking indicates a successful approach from CQU, Jodie said the university is always looking to improve so students could continue to get the greatest benefit from their courses and degrees.

    “The ultimate outcome is to provide graduates with the skills they need, as well as work experience and get them into a full-time job in their field at the end of their course.

    “Reputation-wise we have some great alumni in TNQ and there are great opportunities, including undergraduate programs at a number of major companies in the region."

    For more information on the Good Universities Guide, click here