Three Global Skills Training Forums will continue to ensure Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system has every opportunity to contribute to the National Strategy for International Education.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, was in Melbourne today for the first of three Global Skills Training Forums.

Senator Birmingham said Australia is well placed to take advantage of increasing global demand for skills and training.

“Today’s forum, with representatives from business, education and training providers and students, will look at the best ways to harness this potential,” Senator Birmingham said.

“International education is Australia’s most successful services export, worth $16.3 billion in 2013-14, and supporting around 130,000 jobs across Australia.

“In 2014 there were almost 150,000 international students enrolling in VET courses in Australia, and this number is continuing to grow. There were also just under 50,000 international students who enrolled offshore, mostly from China.

“By 2030 the global labour force is predicted to grow to around 3.5 billion and there is growing demand for intermediate and technical level skills, which Australia is well placed to support.
“This forum builds on the important reforms we have made to VET, including making the system more flexible, so it can move with the times and deliver for employers and students.

“Our new model of training product development puts industry at the heart of the training system, because employers know what skills they need to be innovative and globally competitive.

“Australian industry standards are held in high regard by many countries and have been adopted in countries like South Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and India.

“We have signed three historic free trade agreements with our three largest export markets: China, Japan and Korea, providing even more opportunities for Australian education and training providers.

“Our approach is clearly working, with international VET student enrolments increasing 15.5 per cent in the 12 months to March 2015,” Senator Birmingham said.

Forums will also be held in Sydney and Adelaide.

Media contact: Caitlin Keage 0427 729 987