MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Despite a national unemployment rate of almost 10 percent, Australia's plastics industry is facing a shortage of university graduates spe-cifically trained to meet plastics industry requirements. Australia's first polymer engineering degree was established at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 1993, but the course is in danger of becoming unsustainable because of low enrollments, said Edward Kosier, associate professor.
This year only 13 students, from an initial intake of 25 in 1993, will be the first to graduate with the four-year degree.
Kosier said Australia's plastics industry could employ up to 100 graduates every year, but the course's intake levels have continued to decline.
He said RMIT had promoted the course for four years, but many Australian students perceived the plastics industry as having a narrow career path and dealing with environmentally unfriendly materials and issues.
In an attempt to encourage students to enter the industry and complete the training course, RMIT has launched a program to boost the course's enrollments for 1997. It includes promotional material highlighting careers available in the industry in Australia and internationally.