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Education | Planning & Design

How Southern Cross University is growing its student profile

1 May 2019, by Informa Insights

Situated just 400 metres from North Kirra Beach, and with views of the Pacific Ocean from many vantage points in the campus buildings, Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast campus is unique in Australia. But it is the University’s relationship with the adjacent Gold Coast Airport that really sets it apart from other tertiary education institutions – enabling it to profit from a number of shared infrastructure assets.

Ahead of the University Planning, Design & Construction Conference, David Hadley of Southern Cross University shares some insights into how the relationship has been forged; and how he hopes it will continue to expand the university’s growing student profile.

Joint master planning

Integrating the Southern Cross University campus into the Airport’s twenty-year masterplan has provided a solid foundation from which to actualise the organisations’ mutual goals.

As part of the plan, a number of shared infrastructure assets have been developed, with several more in the pipeline. Each with a view to improving the customer and student experience.

Building on this groundwork, the firms continue to meet regularly and explore further avenues for growth and expansion.

“We attend regular planning meetings to really try and flesh out those united goals”, said David. “This can sometimes be challenging as the scale of the Airport’s growth is astronomical.

“Being one of the busiest domestic airports in Australia, they still have a lot to do on their land with a forthcoming terminal upgrade, new airport hotel and a new southern entrance being built.

“Much of the collaboration has involved negotiation, as well as mutual goal setting”, he added.

Talent and facility exchange

Through its relationship with the Airport, the University has significantly raised the caliber of its aviation courses, making use of flight simulation facilities in the airport grounds.

“Our aviation course is a unique offering in which students can gain a combination of practical skills at the airport’s Aviation Australia training area, and theoretical skills at the adjacent University campus”, said David.

David hopes that the relationship will also lay the groundwork for graduate recruitment. “Fostering a pathway to industry is key to our role as a tertiary education provider. We want our undergraduates to get experience; and alumni to get jobs with the airport and believe this relationship will encourage that”, he said.

The close proximity of the firms also fosters the upskilling of airport staff, who may wish to bolster their professional development through part time tertiary education at the University.

Collaborative marketing

The project’s unique offering has been spruiked to international guests, through a number of collaborative marketing endeavours.

“Southern Cross University is very proud to be in the airport precinct as it makes for a unique proposition, globally. As far as international or remote students are concerned, having direct flights to your location of study is a major USP”, said David.

The new 200-room Rydges hotel -located on the Airport grounds – is due to be completed in 2020 and will open up further possibilities in terms of collaborative marketing.  “The conferencing facilities offered by the University on campus will benefit both parties as delegates will find it convenient to stay at the neighbouring hotel”, said David. “The University will also be looking at having students doing placement for their Business and Tourism degrees”.

Presenting at the University Planning, Design and Construction Conference – 20-21 June 2019, David Hadley will share further details of the University’s unique relationship with the Federal Government landowner and how he hopes it will enhance student amenities and expand the base of its growing student profile.

You may download the full agenda here.

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