Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Training goes offshore too!

Though it hardly deserves the front page, in the news Tuesday morning is a story about TAFE NSW training Chinese nationals offshore - worse still, training them in trades which could lead to domestic jobs going offshore (like Qantas jobs for instance).

The story is frankly thin, full of unsourced quotes from unranked "officials", it is also hardly news. Australian training providers have been very active offshore, universities and TAFE, for ages. Their activities are partly driven by Commonwealth funding policy - policies that have explicitly encouraged training providers to diversify and to develop export education markets to raise commercial revenue and reduce reliance on public funds.

More recently, the Council of Australian Governments explicitly agreed to increase offshore training in order to increase and improve skilled migration into Australia. Specifically, Education and Training Ministers agreed to establish:
"A single, pre-migration, off-shore assessment process to meet skilled migration and licensing purposes and be accepted for licensed employment throughout Australia for intending migrants from any country where there are >100 applications per year per assessing body"
Therefore how can anyone be surprised by this? How on earth can the NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, be surprised - did he miss the debrief?
"We are now seeing entire workforces imported into Australia working for less than Australian rates of pay and conditions."
Yeah, bit of an overstatement, but then I guess we're only months out from an election a God knows the unions run the public sector, however seriously Minister, your Premier and Cabinet signed off on the COAG resolution!

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