Robotics, languages and data engineering are among the short courses to be offered by Canberra's universities in a bid to upskill Australians for a post-coronavirus world.
The discounted six-month online courses are part of the Federal government's COVID-19 relief package for the higher education sector. Federal education minister Dan Tehan wanted people to reskill through the courses which will run until December.
It comes as universities examine a proposed national framework that could see temporary wage cuts to save jobs. The sector in Canberra stands to lose up to $250 million in the next three years due to the loss of international student fees.
ANU will offer four graduate certificates in data engineering, machine learning and computer vision, environmental management and science communication and an undergraduate certificate of languages.
The ANU courses are available to domestic students not currently enrolled at the university. The subsidised cost of the graduate certificates is $2500 and the undergraduate certificate costs $1250.
There is no limit to the number of places offered in each course.
University of Canberra will offer graduate certificates in health research, information technology and TESOL and foreign language teaching. It may also offer an undergraduate certificate in education.
The online courses in health research and information technology cost $2500 and language teaching is $1250.
As universities prepare to launch the new classes discussion is being had over a proposed national framework for the sector that could see wages cut temporarily up to 15 per cent in extreme circumstances to help save jobs.
The deal was made last week by the National Tertiary Education Union, the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, Universities Australia and four representative Vice-Chancellors.
The proposal would see universities in serious financial need turn to a maximum 15 per cent wage cut if other avenues including cash reserves and cutting executive salaries are not sufficient.
The framework will allow staff to be stood down with pay in extreme financial circumstances. According to the NTEU it aimed to protect casual workers who would lose jobs rather than be stood down under the current system.
Individual universities will decide whether to implement the framework. Melbourne University this week opted out of the deal and it was expected other Group of Eight universities would follow suit.
ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said in a blog to staff on Friday the university was "still working through the detail" of the proposal.
"My principal goal is to make sure any agreement we might make is in the best interests of our community - and we are quite different from the rest of the sector," he said.
UC vice-chancellor and president Paddy Nixon said it was focused on protecting jobs and would work "positively and constructively" with the NTEU on its needs.
"The University of Canberra is unique as it is a smaller, place-based university that is less reliant on international students than our counterparts," he said.
"We are implementing a phased approach to the savings needed, and are focused on protecting the institution and the jobs of our valued staff."