Study Queensland (SQ) has partnered with a Queensland edtech start-up to deliver a new online student hub as part of the state’s COVID-19 recovery package.
The Queensland Student Hub aims to improve the wellbeing of international students by connecting them to local welfare services including mental health counselling, English language support, visa information and accommodation services.
The hub is accessible via an app developed by Queensland edtech innovator Vygo.
SQ Executive Director Shannon Willoughby said the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the unique support needs of international students.
‘Queensland is a second home for over 100,000 international students who study here each year, and we need to make sure they are supported during this unprecedented crisis,’ Ms Willoughby said.
‘The new online student hub will provide practical support for students who might be experiencing issues like increased loneliness and anxiety while coping with border closures and adjusting to new online learning situations.’
‘SQ is committed to looking after the wellbeing of all students both present and future.’
Vygo Managing Director Ben Hallett said the hub app focused on making in-person services available online.
‘International education is a booming global sector and the unique needs of [international] students have really come to the forefront,’ Mr Hallett said.
‘The hub provides a modern solution for students who want to reach out – from general wellbeing and advisory services to targeted consultations around mental health.’
Mr Hallett said he had seen the experience of newcomers to Australia firsthand.
‘I was involved in refugee mentorship programs at university and fell in love with it – it really changed my life,’ he said.
‘It convinced us to develop a platform that every student can tap into for help, which is especially important when English may not be their first language.’
Vygo was born out of The University of Queensland’s (UQ) startup programs.
It has provided digital welfare solutions to UQ and now works with universities around Australia and the UK.
International education and training is identified as one of Queensland’s most important services exports under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2020.