7 September, 2012Australia's universities stand ready to engage with business and government in developing a workforce to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the fastest growing region in the world - Asia.
"There is no doubt that there is an increasing premium placed on graduates with the capacity to work in and with Asian nations," said Chief Executive of Universities Australia, Ms Belinda Robinson, following the release of a national strategy for Developing an Asia Capable Workforce by the Asialink taskforce.
"As the report notes, by 2020 Asia is expected to have more middle class consumers then the rest of the world combined. This underscores the importance of Australian businesses employing graduates with the ability to work successfully in and with Asian countries.
"Developing an Asia capable workforce will require the concerted efforts of business, government and education providers from primary school through to postgraduate education.
"Effectively educating Australia's future workforce for the Asian Century is identified as a strategic priority in the report's four part plan to develop an Asia capable workforce."
In response to the recommendations made under the education component of the strategy, Ms Robinson said that universities will continue to work with business to increase the number of internships and workplace opportunities for domestic and international students in Asia oriented businesses.
"Work integrated learning, particularly in Asia focused or located businesses, will accelerate the acquisition of Asia capabilities," Ms Robinson said.
"Universities also strongly support increasing the opportunities for Australian students to study overseas, whether on long term exchange programs or short term study tours.
"This report further highlights the ever increasing role that universities, in partnership with business, will play in cementing Australia's position in Asia."