INTERNATIONAL: Mackay move to become education hub chugging along.
INTERNATIONAL: Mackay move to become education hub chugging along. Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Push to make Mackay an international student hub

EXCLUSIVE: A Mackay-led initiative to grab a slice of the international education market could be the solution to an ongoing skilled worker crisis.

It comes as the 14-person steering committee of Study Greater Whitsunday met for the first time on Monday, in preparation for the launch of the initiative by the end of the year.

Study Greater Whitsunday, spearheaded by peak economic lobby group Greater Whitsunday Alliance, will look to share in Queensland's $4billion international education market by creating a study cluster in the region.

It will look at importing international students and exporting the region's resource sector expertise.

GW3 chief executive Garry Scanlan said the group was working through defining their brand, terms of reference and future projects.

"One [future project] is the Bowen agricultural training abroad program... it's about getting a facilitator in place for agri-education, with students from Japan for example, to look at best practice," he said.

"Also, this region has world-class vocational education and training in the resources and MET (mining, engineering, and technology) sector. It's about promoting that.

"This could work as a vehicle for attracting and retaining people to work in Mackay.

"Not only importing students, but exporting that training and education to the rest of the world."

A feasibility study commissioned by GW3 and stakeholders, all of whom are part of the steering committee, found Mackay could be hotspot for international students.

The 14-person committee includes representatives from Mackay Tourism, CQUniversity, Trade and Investment Queensland, Mackay Regional Council, Whitsunday Regional Council, TAFE, Isaac Regional Council and Regional Development Australia.

Mr Scanlan said he expected to launch Study Greater Whitsunday by year's end.