Australia has been warned that it could miss out on the big share of Asia's largest skills training market, especially India, which has been estimated to grow up to USD 50 billion by 2022.
"Education spending ranks second only to outlays on food for the average Indian middle class family. Australia, with its robust, best in class VET providers, and institutional framework and quality assurance systems, is well placed to garner a large share of this market among consumers who cannot afford to be trained overseas. Yet Australian providers lag behind their competitors from the UK, Germany and Switzerland in this field," it said.
To gain access to Indian market, Australian Training And Further Education (TAFEs) should unbundle their high quality training courses and offer simpler training modules at lower cost to students, the report said.
"With public sector funding for VET providers under pressure, serving Asia's massive skills training demand could be important to securing the TAFE sector's long-term future," it said.
The report 'Skills Challenge: Australia and India's Skills Training Needs' has been published in AII's latest occasional paper 'Fearless NAdia' and has been authored by Prasenjit Kundu.
The report has proposed several steps to capitalise the Indian market which is said to have 25 per cent of global workforce by 2020 with an average age of its citizens to be at 29 years.
It recommended a Centre of Excellence to be established in India, with Australian TAFE educators and trainers heading over to help train new Registered Training Organisations to teach Indians.
"Establish a Centre of Excellence serving Australian VET providers who wish to deliver skills training in India. Initial focus to be on engineering and service skills in mining and construction, early childhood education, childcare, and health and aged care, expanding eventually to cover all five skill verticals as per the agreed bilateral charter," it said.
"Tasked with enabling collaboration opportunities with Indian partners including industry and NSDC partners, the COE should receive initial seed funding from government for three years, then proceed as a fee-for-service, low capital- intensive organisation with a lean cost structure and a small in-house team well versed in the Indian business landscape and the Australian VET sector's structures and cultures," the report suggested.