Asia experience not recognised by employers

A new report has found that some young people in Australia feel they do not have the opportunity to develop and use their Asia literacy to its full potential. 

Asia literacy refers to the Asia-related skills, knowledge and experience of both young Australians and of people from across the Asia Pacific who are living, studying and working in Australia. 

The latest and final in a series of reports on Asia literacy from Asia Society Australia and the International Education Association of Australia outlines young people’s concerns about how far these skills are recognised.

Delegates at a youth day meeting raised that Australian employers do not fully recognise international students from across the Asia Pacific as a source of human capital who can “better connect” their organisation to the region. 

The report said this signals a “major disconnect” within Australian organisations, many of which are led by senior executives who openly support Asia literacy. 

Youth play an important role in driving people-to-people relationships across the region, according to the report’s authors. 

“Australia’s future prosperity and security is linked to the region in which we are located,” the authors note. “The future of Australia-Asia engagement will be shaped by people, particularly young people.”

The report recommends research into the views of Australian employers to better understand workplace demand in Australia for Asia literacy. 

“We’ve tried to shake up Australia’s narrative around Asia literacy and broaden perspectives”

Researchers outline several other recommendations including advocating for an immigration system that facilitates international students from across Asia and the Pacific to stay and settle in Australia post-graduation, in line with published skills shortages, and to access meaningful work and career opportunities.

“We’ve tried to shake up Australia’s narrative around Asia literacy and broaden perspectives,” said Kirrilee Hughes, research manager at IEAA. 

“The ten recommendations listed in this report need to be taken up by Australian governments, businesses, education institutions and not-for-profit organisations to empower young people in Australia for Asia-engaged futures. 

“Over the coming months, IEAA will be focusing on a number of these, including recommendations which focus on Australian employers, workplace demand for Asia literacy and international students,” Hughes added.

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