Sun.Star Cebu <> Saturday, November 29, 2008
BY NANCY R. CUDIS, Sun.Star Staff Cebu
WITH not enough people to fill job vacancies in their country, a delegation from Australia came to Cebu with the aim of inviting Filipinos to work there through education and training.
The Queensland, Australia vocational education and training (VET) working party met with different government leaders and representatives from the local academe to heighten their awareness and willingness to link with Queensland’s VET sector.
“We came to show how serious we are about building relationships with the Philippines and see what can be done for Filipinos to come (to Australia) and live in our aging population,” said Linda Brown, institute director for the Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE (technical and further education), the largest provider of Queensland Government-funded vocational education and training in Queensland.
While the unemployment rate in Australia is low, it will still need more than 120,000 skilled workforces by 2010, Brown said in a press conference last Thursday at the Laguna Garden Café.
Even if the list of vacancies in Australia changes and its academe responds by coming up with new courses, VET Export Office director Katherine Marnane said there is still demand for jobs in industries such as, tourism, accounting, hairdressing, business, health, and community services, among others.
To help increase its labor force, the Australian Government and its private education sector opened “pathways” for education and employment to international and domestic market. These pathways enable students to enroll in a quality training program and work at the same time.
For instance, Charlton Brown, an education and placement service provider in the elderly care industries in Australia partnered exclusively with the Integrative Learning (IL) Institute, a unit of IL International that offers transformational education migration—in the Philippines.
Through these two institutions, a Filipino can enroll in its training courses on elderly care, community services and hospitality management. He or she can then avail of the opportunity to study and work in Australia with his family. He or she would also have the prospect of permanent residency eligibility in Australia.
All these, according to IL International president Jerry Perez de Tangle, are possible within a span of about three and a half years.
The Australian Government recognized the significant contribution of VET in its economy. National income from international education and training reached $7.5 billion in 2004 and is among Australia’s largest export sectors.
In a report, the Australian State and Territory Governments spend around $3.8 billion a year on VET. It has over 4,000 training organizations registered nationally.
People from diverse cultures—mostly from the Asia Pacific (Korea, Japan and the Philippines)—come to Australia, particularly in Queensland, to live, study and work.
Queensland is Australia’s second largest state by area and is one of the most populous.
“We came to show how serious we are about building relationships with the Philippines and see what can be done for Filipinos to come (to Australia) and live in our aging population,” said Linda Brown.
With the ongoing global financial crisis, Brown noted a significant influx of Europeans and Americans, whose number are expected to increase in the next two years.
“Our economy is booming and we have a lot of sustainability that sheltered us from this crisis. There is also quality of life and the cost of living in
Queensland is less expensive. The advantage for the Philippines is that we are not too far from home,” she said.
Michael Hall, executive officer of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, added that Filipinos also have the natural advantage as English speakers compared to other nations in the Asia Pacific.