Austrade's new research report and toolkit will provide consortia opportunities and pathways for Australian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) delivering education and training services.

Austrade commissioned research from Ernst & Young to provide actionable information on the use of consortia, partnerships and collaboration to service global-scale demand for borderless and offshore education, and give Australia’s international education sector a key competitive advantage.

The research report provides comprehensive information on consortia opportunities, challenges, and pathways for Australian SMEs delivering education and training services.

The Consortia Toolkit is a step-by-step guide to using a consortium model to pursue large-scale borderless and offshore opportunities.

To date, only a handful of Australian education and training companies have banded together as consortia to respond successfully to international opportunities. However, the report found this model allowed members to address challenges of scale, breadth of capability, and manage risks and share costs associated with market entry.

Borderless and offshore education are key growth drivers for the Australian education sector, which is one of the strongest drivers of Australia's economic growth.

Australia is the world's third-largest educator of international students, after the USA and UK, and education services are our third-largest export. The sector currently generates around A$30.9 billion a year in services exports and employs more than 130,000 people.

Australia's world-renowned education sector is uniquely placed to tap into growing demand overseas. The nation’s first Strategy for International Education and the long-term market development road map, Australian International Education 2025 (AIE 2025), identified significant opportunities for education providers if they can scale up significantly, by using technology, or partnering with each other. This is a major challenge for SMEs in the Vocational Education and Training (VET), English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and Educational Technology (EdTech) sub-sectors.

But the incentive is clear. By 2025, there will be an estimated one billion students worldwide, many searching the globe for an international education.

Technology already helps many SMEs scale up to claim a share of this vast market – Australia has more than 1100 online education providers generating approximately A$5.2 billion in revenue.

The toolkit is available online to Market Information Package (MIP) subscribers on Austrade's website.