Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, one in five countries – home to billions of people living in poverty – were likely to see per capita incomes stagnate or decline in 2020.
– United Nations

As a 'dual-sector' tertiary institution, offering practical, vocational education as well as academic and research opportunities, VU exemplifies the concept of work-focused learning and development.

Our focus on career skills has seen us ranked by employers as the top university in Australia for employable graduates (QILT 2020).

In addition to supporting our community into work, we collaborate on strategic economic development in the west of Melbourne, and conduct world-class economic modelling and research to advise business and government policy.

8 Decent work and economic growth

Research projects & engagement 2020-21

The Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS) provides computable general equilibrium (CGE) modelling and analysis of the factors for sustainable economic growth, to support the evidence base for public policy and improve economic decision-making, both in Australia and internationally.

The CoPS team published 21 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and engaged in public debate addressing issues of policy change, investment and economic growth which encompassed COVID-19 short-term impacts and longer-term implications of changes to economies, climate change and recovery from the Australian bushfires. For example, the CoPS researchers modelled The Effects of Financial Decoupling of the U.S. and China: Simulations with a Global Financial CGE Model and The economic effects of the U.S.-China trade war to understand the implications of a distancing between the two nations; and to advance the utility of economic models Creating a Disaggregated CGE Model for Trade Policy Analysis: GTAP-MVH and Developing a DSGE Consumption Function for a CGE Model.

The Mitchell Institute released a policy report Averting an Escalating Labour Market Crisis for Young People in Australia: A Proposed National Job Cadet Program supported by the national employer association Ai Group, arguing that Australia should extend apprenticeship schemes into new occupational area to provide greater employment opportunities for young people.

The Mitchell Institute investigated the Impact of Coronavirus on Apprentices and Trainees, warning that government funding was already at its lowest levels since 2011 and that youth unemployment will jump with an estimated drop of 130,000 or 30% in the number of apprenticeships and traineeships offered over two years.

The innovative Victorian Land Use and Transport Integration (VLUTI) model shows how land use and transport infrastructure can directly influence each other, and how infrastructure investment could change the distribution of population and employment across the state of Victoria. The VLUTI model, was used to inform the development of the state of Victoria’s Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy .

The West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance (WoMEDA) was established by Victoria University to bring together local Councils and businesses to develop an economic strategy for the region. WoMEDA meets regularly to discuss economic analysis provided by Victoria University and opportunities for economic advancement. WoMEDA released Investing in a New Hospital for Melton, which outlines the importance of a hospital to the region.

In 2020, the Centre of Policy Studies' (CoPS) work with policy agencies, including capability development through training in CGE modelling using GEMPACK software developed for the purpose, saw the team engage with 160 public, education, finance and international organisations across 35 countries, including the IMF and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. CoPS research directly contributed to policy and public funding development for Australia, the USA, China and Mongolia.

The School for the Visitor Economy with funding from the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, undertook Project Jigsaw to develop an integrated data platform to inform tourism investment and planning. After a successful proof of concept phase, a further $1m in funding was obtained to develop and implement the platform VisScope. Its development involved extensive engagement with the Victorian Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions.

Dr Joanne Pyke from the School of the Visitor Economy participated on the Victoria Tourism Industry Council Visitor Economy Recovery Taskforce to support the tourism, hospitality and events industries through the pandemic and build sustainable industry foundations post-pandemic.

The Master of Tourism, Hospitality and Events Management focuses on ‘Green Growth’ and sustainability and how these themes benefit businesses in the sector and local communities, featuring units like 'Green growth transformation of destinations'.