Students at the Careers Expo at Newcastle Jockey Club on Thursday. Picture Ryan OslandSTUDENTS at this year’s Newcastle and Lake Macquarie career expo were concerned about implications that the budget would have for university fees and welfare support.
Five thousand students registered for a career expo on Thursday to learn more about their future careers.
In the wake of the recently proposed 2014 Liberal budget students and teachers are unsure about what lies ahead.
Under the proposed budget, fees will no longer be capped, and universities will be allowed to charge what they like from 2016.
Welfare payments for the unemployed under 30 years of age will not be available for six months after lodging an application, and recipients will be required to work for the dole.
Levina Abbo, a teacher and career advisor at Merewether High School said the deregulation was a great cause for concern.
‘‘[Students] are looking much more at scholarships and cadetships which are increasingly harder to get,’’ she said.
‘‘Students in year ten are already commenting on the budget and how it’s going to affect them.’’
She also said those choosing to study away from home would be impacted significantly.
‘‘They may not be able to choose courses that really cater to their needs and may not be able to follow their true passions,’’ she said.
Linsay Burns, a 24-year-old final-year construction management student at the University of Newcastle, said he was reconsidering doing a masters degree in light of the proposed budget.
‘‘I’m concerned about being in a position of having to pay back my debt at a higher rate and lower income,’’ he said.
‘‘I work overseas volunteering and so coming back into the country knowing I can’t get benefits for six months makes me concerned about my international career.
‘‘It’s not a fair budget. It’s extremely unfair.’’
The Newcastle Lake Macquarie Career and Training Expo, presented by Career Links had a record number of exhibitors and students, with every high school in the region involved for the first year ever.
Anne Molloy, Career Links spokeswoman said the expo was a fantastic opportunity to support young people making decisions about their future careers.
Ms Molloy said that while federal government funding for university programs would be cut in the proposed budget, Career Links believed there is a need for programs supporting young people as they move from school to work.
‘‘We remain positive and we’re exploring opportunities that will allow us to continue helping young people in the future,’’ she said.
‘‘That’s why we do it. We’re the intermediary between training providers, schools and employers.’’
Is the federal budget making you reconsider your study and career prospects?
HAYLEY KEEN, 17, St Phillips, Year 12
‘‘It’s scary, now that I’m in year 12 and having to look into these things, considering the future and study and career options. There are financial limitations already, and they’re getting worse. Now that I’m more politically aware, I can see that these budget decisions will impact us and will probably affect what I want to do. I want to study medicine.’’
BLAKE MARCHANT, 18, Lakes Grammar, Year 12
‘‘I think if Tony Abbott’s daughter gets a $60,000 degree for nothing and other kids all have to pay for their education, it’s very unfair. My family isn’t all that well off to start with and we don’t need all these extra things to have to pay for just so I can get an education. It’s a very unfair budget. It makes it harder for those who already have it hard.’’
CHRIS PANTSOS, 17, Lakes Grammar, Year 12
‘‘The budget will definitely make it harder for students to get into what they really want to do. It will limit their options. I’m not sure what I want to study, but I’m tending towards business. This will really limit the universities I can go to, because the massive increase in cost will mean living out of home will be harder. The budget is not really fair, as it disadvantages those who are already disadvantaged.’’
ERIN HEALEY, 17,Merewether High, Year 12
‘‘I’m having to rethink my gap year because if I wait to start my degree until 2016, deregulation of fees will kick in and the unis will be able to charge me whatever they like. I want to study nursing and midwifery and that’s four years long – three if I do it faster. I’m angry about the budget and I think making the dole harder to get is going to cause problems for a lot of people studying.’’