Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham will conclude his
visit to South Korea today—the first from an Australian education minister since 1997.

Senator Birmingham said strengthening education and training ties with his South Korean
counterparts and industry representatives had been a key focus of his visit.

“Education-related travel services is one Australia’s top exports to South Korea, generating more than $759 million in trade in 2014,” Senator Birmingham said.

“In 2014 Australia welcomed over 20,000 students from South Korea across all sectors of

“Australian institutions have strong links with Korean counterparts, including 18 joint programmes at the bachelor level and above. Australian vocational education and training (VET) providers are also forging innovative partnerships with South Korea.”

“Australia and Korea have agreed to start work on benchmarking qualifications of mutual
interest such as IT, tourism and hospitality, with a view to finalising this process by the end of 2016. This is an important step towards granting mutual recognition of qualifications. 

“Strengthening our bi-lateral relationships with Korea therefore supports increased technical
exchange between our two countries, and facilitates even greater linkages by VET stakeholders,” he said. 

“There has been particularly strong growth in Australia’s VET qualification market, demonstrated by a 20 per cent increase in enrolments from Korean students in
Australian VET over the preceding 12 months.

“I have used this visit to encourage more Korean students to come to Australia to enjoy our high quality education services. At the same time, I want to encourage more Australian students to consider undertaking an overseas study experience in Korea,” he said.

During his visit, Senator Birmingham met with his South Korean ministerial counterparts,
visited a collaborative project between Sydney TAFE and Korea Polytechnic to improve the skills of trainers and assessors, and met with education and training stakeholders to discuss strengthening links between education and industry. Senator Birmingham also met with two students from The University of Adelaide benefiting from the Abbott Government’s New Colombo Plan. 

“The expansion of Korea’s skills system is incredible, as their government attempts
to address the skills mix in the economy,” Senator Birmingham said.