Will Symons, Deloitte Asia Pacific Sustainability Lead, Deloitte, joined the 'Driving the ESG agenda' panel at the AFR Higher Education Summit on Tuesday, 30 August 2022 alongside Barney Glover, Vice-Chancellor, Western Sydney University; Patricia Davidson, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Wollongong; Syed Islam, Advisory Director, Centre for New Energy Transition Research (CfNETR), Federation University; and Sally Patten, BOSS Editor, The Australian Financial Review.
Read on to discover Will’s key insights from the panel discussion.
The three primary roles that form the foundation for thinking about the roles in de-carbonisation of universities are:
We have to orchestrate between all the supply and demand sides of our economy, from a skills and resources perspective.
There’s a great desire from the private sector to engage with universities. The biggest barrier which exists between the public and private sectors is that we talk different languages and there's a discomfort and disconnect. We recently surveyed a large number of clients, and three quarters of the 150 business leaders we spoke to wanted to either extend or build new partnerships with universities but indicated that there's a language issue. There’s also a speed issue. And finally, what we need is people with a convergence of skills.
There’s a lot of reporting in the media about Australia being a renewable energy superpower. Big industrials in Asia see prospectus to invest and they are moving forward. When I speak to them, the first or second or third thing they ask is about skills. Skills and more broadly, workforce, is a huge issue. And it’s about timing. It's about the right skills in the right place.
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