How to fix Voc. Ed. & Training comprehensively – Issue Eleven

(C) Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Intellectual Property of Dr. Bruce D. Watson, DEd Melbourne, FAIM, MACE,

For Private individual use and comment.


Re-establish training and education opportunities directly linked to sustainable employment opportunities

As per business supply and demand models, there must continue to be no guarantee of continued subsidised training (VET Fee Help) simply based on ‘market forces’ and what students want to do, particularly in high profit low investment courses, for example see “Private vocational training and cherry pickability”, Market Forces apply to what people want to do, and often the courses RTOs can make the easiest profit from, not necessarily what is actually needed in the community or industry sectors.

The development of more sophisticated forecasting and skills analysis capacities could be used to complement labour market testing, however, they are not a substitute for labour market testing. Where analysis indicates there is not a supply deficiency, the occupations should be taken off the skill supply and subsidised funding.

There needs to be a proper, rigorous process for managing this and ensuring there are genuine skill shortages and Australian workers and young people are not missing out on jobs and training opportunities.

Of course, all VET courses may still be available as full fee courses subject to the normal administrative and compliance requirements . Be aware, however, that many employers want a cheap employee (‘cheapie’).


Sylvia Pennington says, (The Sydney Morning Herald, March 15, 2013, “Vendors began using cut-price foreign talent to up their profits and elbow Aussies out of jobs early last decade, as soon as they twigged they could, according to those who claim to have been stung by the practice.

While debate over the visa system rages, IT consultancy Mahindra Satyam has announced plans to use staff from India, Malaysia and the Philippines to up its Australian head count from 1600 to 5000 over the next two years.

Forty per cent of the staff would be located in Australia and 60 per cent offshore to Mahindra Satyam, head of ANZ operations Bobby Gupta told India’s The Economic Times on Tuesday. The region currently accounts for 8 per cent of the firm’s $US1.31 billion annual revenue.

One worker told Fairfax Media he was made redundant from his nine-year IT management gig with a national liquor retailer in 2003 after the company hired Satyam (now Mahindra Satyam) to take over the IT jobs of eight local staff.

“We were given a few months’ notice of our redundancy and in that time we had to train the Indian staff on how to support our internal systems. It was never said but we were made to feel that if you wanted your redundancy payment, you had to train them.

While training the Indian staff, we found out that they were all in Australia on 457 visas. “There were six of them with some rotating to give others exposure to the systems.” IT professionals say this practice is in common with other major systems integrators and consultancies that use short-term 456 and longer-term 457 visas to boost their bottom line by importing lower-paid overseas workers.”

3. Remove the fetters from management?

M. Ruhs says, ‘The potential of temporary migration programmes in future international migration policy’ (2006) 145 International Labour Review, pp. 14-15.”, “The design of the 457 scheme is often loosely linked to globalization, but it is clear that policy decisions play a major role. One crucial influence has been neo-liberal philosophies that seek to remove the fetters from management prerogative.

Ruhs classifies the 457 scheme can as laissez faire because of the absence of any caps or quotas, but even within this classification it appears as extreme, due to the absence of any labour market testing..

He says, there is always a need for host countries to manage the demand for migrant labour. This is because the level of labour immigration that is in the interest of individual employers is unlikely to coincide with that in the best interest of the economy as whole.

He goes on to argue that this entails ensuring that there are no opportunities for lowering labour costs by lowering labour standards, that demand for migrant labour is residual after recruitment of local workers fails, and that other methods of responding to shortages are not unfairly foreclosed. The 457 scheme fails to meet this fundamental challenge of managing the demand for labour.

Because the 457 scheme comes with extensive opportunities for renewal and with opportunities for the worker to apply for permanent residency, it may be wrong to call it a temporary migrant labour scheme. Instead it may be better characterised as a permanent migration program, though one that differs from the traditional program in that the workers are highly dependent on individual employers. This does not of course detract from but instead reinforces our argument concerning the need to meet the challenges of regulation.”

4. However little workers earn, there is always somebody who wishes they earned even less.

There is always somebody who wishes workers earned less. The solution is to import more cheap labor. But not just any cheap labour, cheap labour that cannot leave, that cannot accept a better offer, that cannot complain.

“Bonded labor” is the oldest idea in American labour markets. In the 17th and 18th centuries, about half the British migrants to the United States arrived as indentured servants, people who agreed to work for a term of years in exchange for food, lodging, and the cost of their passage.

Perhaps you assumed that such arrangements had expired centuries ago?

Think again.


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