Establishing an ecosystem to enhance international students’ entrepreneurship: challenges and opportunities
21st Century skills, attributes, and mindsets are critical for global career success. In Australia, study destination agencies, education providers, policy makers, industry and community organizations are working collaboratively – to execute innovative approaches to careers development, employability, and entrepreneurship. Australia is innovating in employability by promoting innovation as employability. Recognizing access and equity challenges, along with the benefits to domestic students and employers, employability programs increasingly target international students. On-campus incubators, start-up careers fairs, digital platforms, and mentoring have become standard practice. This builds on Australia’s flexible curricula, which encompasses both technical depth and interdisciplinary breadth, producing adaptable graduates with critical-thinking and entrepreneurship skills.
Eight Australian universities appear in the top 100 of the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019. Australian businesses benefit from a steady stream of quality employees linked to a global alumni community numbering several million. In 2018, over 22 per cent of Australian start-ups had at least one employee on a visa - including many current and former international students. This presentation discusses policy and program challenges and opportunities associated with an emerging ecosystem, where new actors and partnerships are actively enhancing the entrepreneurial skills of all Australian graduates.
Describe how a broad ecosystem of Australian study destination agencies, education providers, community and industry groups, and third party providers are working collaboratively to enhance the 21st Century employability and entrepreneurship skills of international students. Australia innovates in employability by promoting innovation as employability.
Discuss challenges and opportunities associated with introducing entrepreneurial elements to existing Australian employability and careers programs. Education providers are actively seeking linkages between students and entrepreneurs and start-ups, including through digital platforms and third-party providers. This creates policy and program implications for education leaders and policy makers.
Describe how new extra-curricular initiatives are being promoted and recognized, including through the use of micro-credentials. These programs are building on the successes of Australian institutions in attracting international students. Australian curriculum is highly flexible and delivers both technical depth and interdisciplinary breadth. The development of critical-thinking and entrepreneurship is increasingly emphasized.
Outline how a focus on these skillsets, together with generous post-study work rights, has helped put eight Australian universities in the top 100 in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019. It is also helping Australian industry, providing a steady stream of graduates schooled in 21st Century skills and linked to a global alumni community numbering several million.
Ms Rebecca Hall
Senior Industry Specialist Education, International Education, Austrade, Australia
Rebecca Hall leads Austrade’s engagement in promoting Australia’s International Education sector. She forms part of the Trade and Investment Senior Leadership team, engaging across Austrade’s global network. Rebecca oversees Austrade’s AIE2025 strategy and Austrade services to support international education sector sustainability. Prior to joining the Australian Government, Rebecca led international education strategy for the Queensland and Victorian Governments.
Over the past decade, her not-for-profit board experience includes appointments to the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) Queensland Branch and the Queensland Overseas Foundation (QOF). She was also a board member and deputy chair of AFS Intercultural Programs Australia.
Mr Tomas O’Brien
Senior Advisor, International Education, Austrade, Australia