Additional university places to grow Australia's AUKUS workforce

1 December 2023

Thousands more students will train at 16 Australian universities through the allocation of an additional 4,001 Commonwealth supported places in STEM courses to help grow the skilled workforce required to deliver the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine pathway.

The Australian Government is investing $128 million to fund the extra university places over four years, starting in 2024. These additional places will apply to 38 STEM-related courses, designed to attract more students to train in engineering, mathematics, chemistry and physics.

Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles said the Australians who will help to build and maintain our conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines are at the heart of this historic, nation-building project.

“AUKUS represents one of the most significant industrial endeavours in our country’s history and the Albanese Government is already investing in the young Australians who will make up our future workforce,” Mr Marles said. 

“It is critical we make the investments now to ensure we have the skilled workforce to deliver the nuclear-powered submarine program.”

Students will be eligible to apply and commence their studies for STEM-related courses from the beginning of next year.

Minister for Education, Jason Clare said we need more young Australians studying STEM subjects and developing the skills we need for the AUKUS program.

“These extra 4,001 places are on top of the 20,000 additional Commonwealth supported places already funded by the Albanese Government to give more people a crack at going to university,” Mr Clare said. 

Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines is a national endeavour and targeted training to meet the future workforce needs of the submarine program will be vital to supporting this capability.

As part of the allocation, universities were assessed against the ability of proposed courses to meet the increased demand for advanced technical skills. Other criteria included planned investments to engage quality teachers, the expected level of unmet demand from students, plans to support the expansion of enrolment levels and initiatives to increase participation of students from underrepresented backgrounds.

To find out more, visit the Department of Education website.

Provider Places allocated
The University of Adelaide 700
RMIT University 426
University of Wollongong 425
University of New South Wales 340
Flinders University 330
Curtin University 320
The University of Queensland 315
The University of Melbourne 300
Macquarie University 190
The University of Newcastle 140
Western Sydney University 120
Charles Darwin University 110
The Australian National University 108
Charles Sturt University 71
The University of Western Australia 56
Murdoch University 50