The Sunshine Coast – a great place to study
  • Wednesday 20 April 2016

A new regional initiative is set to introduce the 300,000 plus international students who come to study in Australia to the Sunshine Coast and help to keep more local students at home for their tertiary education.

An initiative of Sunshine Coast Council, the regional Education and Research Industry Taskforce and the newly formed Education Sunshine Coast, the Study Sunshine Coast portal ( is now live and will promote our region’s education offering to both overseas and domestic students.

The Education and Research sector is one of the seven high-value industries highlighted in the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) as offering the greatest potential to succeed as the Coast’s economy grows.

Education and Research Industry Taskforce Chairman Brian Anker said the new Study Sunshine Coast campaign that was launched today was a key outcome of the Education and Research Industry Investment Plan.

“The education sector currently employs more than 13,000 people on the Sunshine Coast and is predicted to become the region’s second largest employer by 2033,” Mr Anker said.

“Education made a value-added contribution of almost $700 million to our economy in 2013-14 and we’re well placed to grow this sector significantly through our nationally awarded University, a predicted labour expansion of 50% by 2033, a local labour force that has more than half of its workers with a tertiary education and more than 400 training organisations including TAFE Queensland East Coast.

“The Study Sunshine Coast campaign is all about promoting the outstanding education, lifestyle, work and career opportunities that are available in a safe, natural and inclusive environment to international and domestic students.”

Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer said the Study Sunshine Coast campaign aimed to increase international student numbers by 20% over the next five years.

There are currently around 1200 international students enrolled at USC’s Hervey Bay, South Bank, Melbourne and Sippy Downs campuses.

“We believe there is no other better place to live and study….and then live and work,” Cr Dwyer said.

“Our game-changing infrastructure initiatives like the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, the Maroochydore CBD and the expansion of Sunshine Coast Airport will create a new economy on the Sunshine Coast which will deliver outstanding career pathways and choices for local, national and international students.

“By 2020, each international student will be paying $51,400 in fees and living expenses.

“Our opportunity is to reach out to more and more of these students and show them why they should be putting the Sunshine Coast at the top of their list.

“Another focus of this campaign will be retaining more local students within higher education here on the Sunshine Coast.

“Around 50% of local people are currently leaving our region to pursue higher education opportunities. We want to keep more of them here and also attract more interstate students to the Sunshine Coast.”

As part of the Study Sunshine Coast campaign, eight international and domestic students who are currently studying at USC will act as ambassadors and promote our region as a study destination via their social media networks. 

International student ambassador Jinwoong (Charlie) Kim said the rapid growth of the Sunshine Coast and the future career and lifestyle opportunities convinced him to relocate from his home in the Republic of Korea.

“I like to study on the Sunshine Coast because there are so many beautiful places to relax and I’m very excited to take up an ambassador role for the region and tell as many people as possible overseas how great it is to study and live here,” Charlie said.

Fellow Study Sunshine Coast ambassador Elsie Ley relocated from Glenn Innes in NSW to study a Bachelor of Nursing and Midwifery at USC and said the Sunshine Coast was an ideal location to transition from study into a career.

“I like the vibe of the Sunshine Coast and I like how the university is continuing to grow and provide more opportunities for students,” Elsie said.

“I’m really looking forward to spreading the word throughout the rest of Australia about what a fantastic region this is to study and transition into a career.

“I hope to gain employment at the new University Hospital after I finish my degree.” 

The Study Sunshine Coast website portal includes integrated social media to drive engagement and visitation, together with planned campaign activities. Students are also encourage to help promote the campaign by using the hashtag #StudySunshineCoast in their social media posts about studying and living on the Coast.