Thursday, October 15, 2015

Indian rewards for Australian pioneer

The Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) has made a significant breakthrough into the Indian market with an agreement to develop vocational training schools in the country.

Not only does this place the CIT at the forefront of overseas vocational institutions in India, it comes at a time when that nation’s need for skilled tradespeople has never been greater.

While other Australian sectors and States are obsessed with finding niches in the overcrowded China market, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government is firmly establishing itself in the other, long-neglected Asian giant.

There will be significant rewards.

The Modi Government has set a target of creating 500 million skilled jobs by 2022 with a particular focus on training young people between the ages of 15 and 24, which represents 19 per cent of the nation’s population.

With its 100 smart cities program, and an emphasis on improving the country’s crumbling infrastructure, India has a desperate need for a vast range of occupations from plumbers and electricians to surveyors and architects.

In the past these areas have been neglected by middle-class Indians in the rush to enter the nation’s burgeoning ICT and financial services industries but now the trades are being promoted, both as essential to the nation’s growth and as a way out of poverty for many who feel left behind by the nation’s rapid economic progress.

CIT’s Chief Executive, Leanne Cover, places an emphasis on the institute’s spatial information and surveying programs, saying they are already well-respected within Australia and will be a good fit with its new international partners.

“CIT and the ACT Department of education and training are establishing a strong reputation in India’s educational regions,” Ms Cover said.

“We have reached an important agreement where CIT will develop, in collaboration with India, specialised expertise for workforce development and in exchange, offer some exciting opportunities for CIT teachers and other staff.”

As trailblazers in a nation with enormous and largely untapped potential, CIT and the ACT Government that backs it, deserve to succeed.

One thing remains – an initiative to promote the teaching of Hindi in Canberra schools. While many Indians do speak English — and it is acknowledged as a requirement for those engaged in business there — a working knowledge of the majority language is needed for those who truly want to understand the underpinnings of this complex, often turbulent, always vibrant nation.  


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