3 Responses

  1. Anthony Cotter
    Anthony Cotter October 1, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    APTC has been in competition with local education institutes in Fiji, Samoa and PNG with fee paying students at Ok Tedi Mining, in open competition with other institutes in Australia with same qualification standards.

    In some instances, building new resources and training being offered to scholarship students having better standards of accommodation and equipment in close proximity and competing with local fee-paying apprentices.

    Australian licensing requirements for most apprentices/tradespeople require a level of Australian experience.

    The money would be better spent helping local training colleges or institutes. People are taken away from their jobs to undertake training, learning new systems and then trying to reintegrate in to their old life that is still using old systems. This is destroying long relationships with family and promoting unrealistic goals.

  2. Henry Sherrell
    Henry Sherrell September 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Hi Stephen.

    I think the pilot idea is a step in the right direction. While there is no standard visa pathway, this can be created easily enough via employer sponsored visas and it wouldn’t require any migration reform (a mechanism called labour agreements using 457 visas). Further, it’s like the new migration agreements announced for Darwin will include general aged care workers, not just nurses. I believe this skill level and occupation in migration programs will be required into the future and you’ll see an expansion of this “semi-skilled” occupation eligibility.

    I also think it’s probably a good idea to start in Tonga. This appears hard enough and being located in Tonga reduces one of the major risks, matching up migrants and employers. Hopefully over time, if the pilot succeeds, it can expand with some additional emphasis on that matching process which has failed to date in the SWP.

    I wrote about some of the migration opportunities in response to your paper on my blog. I’m optimistic given this type of labour is very different to unskilled labour which backpackers do and employers get a lot out of a more permanent relationship. We already see it at the trades-level via the substantial number of Filipino 457 visa holders in Australia.

    Incidentally, I know the IOM here in Dili are currently writing a National Action Plan for labour mobility so this is obviously a major topic of interest for a range of countries in the region.

    Cheers Henry

  3. Tess Newton Cain
    Tess Newton Cain September 26, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Thanks for this post Stephen, I think it raises some important points and illustrates the need to think about ‘joining up’ initiatives with what’s going on in numerous environments.

    One additional point is that a primary reason for APTC adopting the ‘top up’ approach to provision of training is to the political ramifications of competing with national VET institutions that offer qualifications up to Cert II. And by upskilling those already in industry it avoids creating a glut of people with qualifications that can’t get jobs in those areas where the private sector is too small to employ them all.

    The Tonga initiative is interesting on numerous levels, not least why it is that Tonga seems to be the ‘preferred supplier’ when it comes to new labour mobility initiatives from Australia. If, as you and Jonathan have written elsewhere, it is the case that labour mobility options are more important for the countries of Melanesia surely we would expect to see an initiative similar to this one in this part of the Pacific some time soon.

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