Re-energising the Australia-India Skills Partnership

Re-energising the Australia-India Skills Partnership

Last week marked Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s first visit to India as they both set out to engage seriously with their Indian counterparts.

This visit was of particular significance due to the growing opportunity for partnerships between Australia and India in Skill Development.

The two countries find themselves in a unique position, both offering the other a commodity of enormous benefit. Australia has an internationally recognised training ecosystem appreciated by Industries the world over and India, with its huge population and need for skills training, is positioned as a supplier of manpower for the world, a vision championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Over the last 4 years Australia has fallen behind countries like the UK and Singapore, which through investment and strong dialogue have forged partnerships with India that have resulted in concrete outcomes for governments and business alike.

Having the Prime Minister and the Minister for Education & Training in India for the 4th annual Australia India Skills Conference signalled Australia’s efforts to re-engage with India in this space.

I was honoured to be part of this conference held in New Delhi.

One significant step forward for the Australia India G2G relationship has been establishing and achieving acceptance of the International Trainer & Assessment Courses (ITAC). The culmination of which was recognition by the Indian National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) during the skills conference.

Quality trainers are an essential component of an effective training system and the launch of the International Trainer and Assessor programs provide a platform for Australia and India to build a deep partnership in skills development.

I strongly feel to reach its full potential the two countries need to work together and establish recognition of qualifications between India’s National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) and Australia’s Qualification Framework (AQF).

Notwithstanding the potential hurdles to achieving this outcome, the benefits to both countries are compelling.

Identifying common domains of interest and strength such as mining, construction and health care will take India a step closer to gaining credibility of its own qualifications, a need for any young system, it will provide greater mobility of the Indian labour force, one of the Modi Government’s key priorities, and this presents Australian education institutes, an opportunity to deliver high quality internationally recognised training to a market much larger than it has at home.

This Australia India skills Conference, and the dialogue commenced between our two Prime Ministers and Ministers Rudy and Birmingham which demonstrated a strengthening commitment between the two countries. Let us now capitalise on this momentum and provide workable solutions for all.

– Sam Freeman, 2016 AIYD Delegate