New Delhi: In collaboration with the Australian Government, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, successfully hosted a roundtable on “Enhancing Health Workforce Training and Skill Pathways” on August 21, 2023, in New Delhi. The distinguished event saw the participation of Mr Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, Government of Australia, alongside Shri Atul Kumar Tiwari, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India.
Shri Atul Kumar Tiwari, Secretary, MSDE welcomed the Australian Minister Butler and his team for this Roundtable Discussion. He shared the current developments within the skill ecosystem where the National Education Policy of 2021 created a National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) to provide harmonization between education and skills and ensure horizontal and vertical mobility of students. Further, he highlighted the situation of a global shortage in the Healthcare sector for qualified professionals and how India is ready to address this issue with skilling in India along with PM Shri Narendra Modi’s recent approval of setting up 157 new nursing colleges in India. With increased focus on meeting the demand for a skilled workforce globally, Secretary MSDE highlighted that the assessment cost is one of the key areas that needs to be addressed by Australia and fast-track the process of citizenship for these Health Sector workers in Australia. For enhanced and better cooperation, he emphasized developing a scholarship program for training and learning the Indian workforce in Australia.
Secretary, MSDE, emphasized the significance of nurturing this crucial partnership through enhanced collaboration in skill development. This collaboration would entail content sharing, removal of barriers hindering international mobility, and streamlining the associated time and cost for skilled Indian professionals.
Australian Minister Mr Mark Butler congratulated India on its highly effective G20 presidency and underscored India’s pivotal role in driving global progress. He disclosed that 1 in every 25 persons is an Indian in Australia as on date and thus Indian Diaspora has become quite an integral part of the Australian economy. He mentioned that with recent visits of PMs of both nations to each country and other ministerial visits, the bilateral relationships between both countries have attained new heights. He highlighted the situation of the prevailing shortage of healthcare professionals in Australia and confirmed his commitment to overcoming the barriers to ensure a better and increased mobility of Indian Healthcare professionals to Australia. He congratulated the Secretary, MSDE, for producing good, qualified professionals in the Health Sector, but also shared his concern for the situation faced by Australia after the COVID-19 pandemic and thus a necessity for preparedness in the Health Sector for any upcoming situations like COVID-19 pandemic in the upcoming future as well. Keeping this in mind, he requested Secretary MSDE for a more skilled workforce in the Health Sector to meet the Australian Health Sector demand.
The roundtable convened officials from key Indian ministries, including the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of External Affairs, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Health Care Sector Skill Council, as well as representatives from the Australian High Commission. Additionally, officials from the Department of Health and Aged Care (DHAC), the Australian Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Education, and Austrade represented the Australian Government. The participation of industry bodies and private sector entities like CII (Confederation of Indian Industry), ApolloMed Skills, and Lourde Academy further enriched the discussions.
The roundtable featured comprehensive presentations from both India and Australia, deliberating on the demand for healthcare and care workers in both countries’ potential to emerge as a preferred source of skilled talent for this sector.
During the roundtable, comprehensive strategies were discussed aiming to transform ideas into actionable outcomes. These strategies included a cost-efficient testing model with expense reimbursement for international mobility, a dual language assessment approach, streamlined regulatory procedures for skill migration, a UK-Ireland-like approach to experience requirements, mapping of Job Roles with Australia for harmonization of skills, customized and tailored courses as per the need and requirement of the Australian Health Sector market & demand, importance of recognition of qualifications of Indian Workforce in Australia, eased out process for visa, reduced cost of assessment by Australia and exploring market-driven incentives for recruitment agencies. This focused discourse reflects the commitment to enhance health workforce training and skill pathways, making the roundtable a pivotal platform for collaborative progress.
The dynamic opportunities for Indian professionals in the Australian healthcare sector signal a favourable juncture to elevate bilateral relations. The roundtable infused momentum into this pursuit by fostering an environment for constructive and transparent exchange of ideas aimed at enhancing health workforce training and skill pathways between India and Australia. The event capitalized on expert insights and experiences to chart a collaborative path forward, promising mutual growth and prosperity.
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