Subject: (Strengthening education ties between Australia and South Korea)


SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Thank you. Your English is much better than my Korean and I won’t try anymore, but thank you very much distinguished leaders of education and training here in Korea for welcoming me and the delegation from Australia, from our embassy, from our institute of TAFE in Sydney to be with you today.

We are very proud of our education system and, in particular, our vocational education and training system which has developed in Australia over many years based around a nationally recognised framework of qualifications that give students identifiable and transferrable qualifications that they can take from job to job and employer to employer that give them and equip them with skills relevant to the jobs that they are doing now and in to the future and we are very committed to, not only, continuing to enhance and build that system of qualifications based on competencies in Australia, but to share our knowledge and experience with friends like Korea within our region and around the world. This is a wonderful opportunity for me today to be able to see that type of sharing and collaboration happening in practice between the Sydney Institute of TAFE and Korea Polytechnic here at the Korea Tech facility. 

We hope to be able to use the example of this type of relationship to encourage others to forge similar relationships in Korea. We are fortunate to have many thousands of Korean students studying in Australia. We are fortunate to have exchange programs in place that allow many Australian students to come and experience Korea, but we also want to strengthen the ties between our two educational institutions in our countries and to make sure that it’s not just about a flow of students, but a building of those relationships and flow of educational knowledge between the two countries and a building of capacity within our educational institutions through these types of partnerships. 

Thank you for having us today, thank you for embracing the Sydney Institute of TAFE in your work with them. I know that, clearly, that you share common values in strengthening outcomes for your students, in giving them skills that are relevant to jobs in you economy just as they are relevant to jobs in our economy and that this particular program on helping to train your trainers of the future and giving those who will be your teachers of vocational education and training the qualifications that our teachers of vocational education and training have in Australia. It will serve you well because they are good, strong qualifications that do help to ensure that people are well placed to deliver competency based training that helps to have skills required for practical jobs across a wide range of areas of economic activities. I look forward to the chance to meet some of those students and to having a look today and to being able to talk about my experience of being here and learning from the relationship you’ve established with the Sydney Institute of TAFE and using this example to encourage many others to do likewise in the future.