Why all VET providers should be thinking globally

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There could be a number of reasons why VET experts might suggest that providers should be thinking globally and operating internationally.


I believe that if you have an aspiration to run a high quality Registered Training Organisation (RTO) then you should be aiming for ‘world-class’.  This means being aware of trends, opportunities and capabilities across different countries, and partnering with Australian and overseas institutions to build community capacity and 21st Century skills.

From Australia, there is a natural connection with the Asia Pacific where our industry based approach combined with National Training Packages is highly regarded.  But is isn’t a matter of picking up what we have here and copying it exactly and rolling it out in another region.

Most importantly, it is important to take time to understand and research different countries as relationships between institutions and partners it is more of a peer to peer approach.  Too many times I have seen providers jump to a conclusion and offer a solution that doesn’t fit their partner or client as they are mostly focused on themselves and what they have on offer.  Not taking the time to truly listen to what is needed and design a specific model over the longer term that addresses priority needs just leaves everyone feeling frustrated.

In a number of areas you could argue that people are looking for world-class content, international recognition and cutting edge ideas.  So consider this against your RTO – could you say, “yes – this is us”?

As you plan for the new financial year, I would suggest it is a must to consider your international plans and profile (especially online including social media) or be left way behind.  And perhaps your strategic plan, vision and mission is limited to local or national – well, why?  You are running the risk of becoming irrelevant and out of date – anything but ‘world-class’.

So where might you start?  Begin by getting a background in some of the recent international education announcements and strategies as outlined next.

Australian International Education Strategy 2025

Australian International Education Strategy 2025, opens with this statement “Australian international education is a world-leading brand.”

In this strategy the aspiration is to, “Delivering education and skills to meet the needs of the world’s one billion students in 2025.”

To put this into perspective, “Reaching just 10% of the potential market would translate to over 110 million students in 2025.”

On the point of demand for skills the report highlights,

By 2020, a global shortage of up to 85 million medium-skill and highskill workers is forecast.  Up to five million jobs could be displaced due to economic transformation and the associated changing demand for skillsets.

The education sector of 2025 will be enabled and characterised by its spirit of collaboration, innovation, anticipation and reciprocation.

The sector is being disrupted and it is naive to think that it won’t be disrupted on an ongoing basis and across multiple waves.

Game-changers include:

  • Compete at scale
  • Embrace borderless learning 24/7
  • Unleash technology
  • Sharpen market focus
  • Attract global capital
  • Maintain an Australia edge

The Roadmap Activation is outlined next,


As you are developing your ideas and plans, consider how the game-changing initiatives will impact on you and how you could leverage your organisation.

National Strategy for International Education

A first of its kind this strategy says,

Although traditional forms of education will remain in high demand there are new and emerging forms of education where there are significant opportunities for both students and providers. These include blended delivery models, online professional development, and offshore and edu-tourism opportunities.

The National Strategy for International Education is built on three pillars:


Pillar 1—Strengthening the fundamentals

Goal 1: Building on a world-class education, training and research system

Goal 2: Delivering the best possible student experience

Goal 3: Providing effective quality assurance and regulation


Pillar 2—Making transformative partnerships

Goal 4: Strengthening partnerships at home

Goal 5: Strengthening partnerships abroad

Goal 6: Enhancing mobility

Goal 7: Building lasting connections with alumni


Pillar 3—Competing globally

Goal 8: Promoting our excellence

Goal 9: Embracing opportunities to grow international education.


These three pillars could be used as a way to measure where you are at now and where you want to be over the next year or two.

Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy 2016-2020

International education—our largest services export—contributed $17.6 billion to the Australian economy in 2014 and $19.65 billion to the Australian economy in 2015. With two-way international education growing at unprecedented rates, our global alumni community—already estimated at about 2.5 million—is set to grow.

Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy 2016-2020 is, “The Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy (the Strategy) is a whole of government public diplomacy initiative that has been developed in collaboration with Australia’s tertiary education sector.”

The mission is to, “…grow a global alumni community that actively engages and promotes Australia and advances our national interests, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Strategic actions are to:

Connect – We will connect alumni to each other and to Australia. We will connect people working with our alumni to share information, knowledge and resources.

Mobilise – We will mobilise engagement with alumni through events, professional development, business and research opportunities.

Celebrate – We will celebrate the achievements and ongoing two-way linkages between alumni and Australia.

As business leaders, entrepreneurs and employees, our alumni can identify and broker new connections and partnerships for Australian business.  They help us to identify and understand key markets and add depth to our regional and global business relationships.

We will connect alumni to Australian business missions, trade delegations and industry forums. We will encourage their ongoing investment in Australia and create opportunities to widen their exposure to Australian goods and services.

Highlighted in this strategy is many examples of people who studied in Australia using this opportunity to start their own business and become successful entrepreneurs.

Whilst the strategy states, “Wherever possible, universities and other stakeholders will be invited to opt in and partner with the Australian Government on alumni engagement”, I believe this approach needs to include Vocational Education and Training (VET) and schools.

Consider how you have kept track of your alumni and where they might be overseas.  This clearly leads into a strong digital engagement strategy and from this broad information now move to thinking about specific countries and regions.

If you would like any help with your potential to operate globally and become world-class please contact Wendy Perry via wendy@wb.switchstartscale.com.au.  Thank you.

May 2016


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