Riding on the waves of Digital Trends and Choosing the right University
There is an abundance of predictions on the future trends claiming that lots of jobs are still non-existent yet in this day and age. Although they are merely predictions, Australian universities have picked up the pace and responded quickly to provide sufficient education needs and knowledge towards this direction. Most of their new emerging courses have been created to fulfill the demands of the future labour market.
Australia is not an unfamiliar territory to our people, however, there are still many innovations and achievements that we may not be aware of. For example, do you know that Wi-Fi, aircraft black box, Google Maps and in-vitro fertilisation conception are actually invented in Australia? Search for Dr. John O’Sullivan, David Warren, Where 2 Technologies and Carl Wood on the internet. Now, you can be amazed with how advanced Australia is even back in the days.
Regardless of technology development or higher education sector, often times, Australia is a step ahead of Malaysia. For instance, Credit / Debit Card’s Paywave functionality was introduced in Malaysia in mid-2017 while it was already in use across Australia since 2009. In terms of higher education, Australia is extremely responsive to the constantly changing trends and has developed various new courses in line with these global trends, targeting the future job market aforementioned above.
According to Ms. Khoo, Country Head of AECC Global Malaysia region, there are many courses in Australia that are currently rarely found in Malaysia, such as FinTech, digital marketing, and eSports. These courses are not taught in Malaysian colleges and universities at this point, but it is foreseeable that our country will require these talents in the near future as digitalisation progresses further. Take digital marketing for example, more than a decade ago, there was no profession specializing in social media marketing. However, social media is a force that cannot be ignored now. If you want to talk about marketing strategies, you could not afford to talk about it without mentioning social media.
In addition, Australian universities such as Queensland University of Technology and Swinburne University of Technology have long been optimistic about the potential of the video game market and offer game design courses. The once-popular game, Fruit Ninja, was developed by Queensland University of Technology graduates. More impressively, Queensland University of Technology is the pioneer of e-sports program and built an e-sports arena on campus to nurture eSports talents. In addition, they are also giving out partial scholarships to talented eSports talents to study any courses at the university too.
Moreover, Malaysia has seen more and more spine treatment centers in recent years. As early as many years ago, Macquarie University in Australia claimed to be the first university in Australia and even the world to offer spine treatment courses. The university boasts its own chiropractic clinic within its campus which students have the opportunity to receive practical training while studying at school to prepare for future employment all within campus with the experienced chiropractors at their fingertips.
There are many universities in Australia which are still young, and because of their young establishment, these universities tend to be more flexible and react closer to market demands. For instance, the University of Technology Sydney, ranked 10th in the 2019 Global Young University Rankings published by QS, has Australia's first super lab with first-class teaching and research equipment which is a huge achievement by itself given its short establishment history.
Many students will take the rankings of foreign universities as references when they are choosing an university to study at. However, Australian universities do not have their own official ranking in the country. Most of them are still ranked highly in the QS, THE and ARWU rankings used globally though. Aside from that, Australia universities has their own local rankings which are usually obtained from self-organizing alliances, such as the Group of Eight (GO8) – A coalision of world-leading research Universities , the Australian Technology Network (ATN) – A coalision of practical-focused universities and the Innovative Research Universities (IRU) – A coalision of comprehensive universities focusing on excellence in teaching, learning & research.
At AECC Global, we usually advise students to refer to the QILT website (www.qilt.edu.au) during our education consultation. QILT is the “Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching” issued by the Australian department of education and training. It evaluates the employment profiles of graduates and student satisfaction from various universities in Australia, allowing students to know about the prospects of their chosen university or faculty which would be more substantial information for them.
The importance of VET sector and its success
For a long time, some Malaysian students studying in Australia have chosen vocational education and training (VET). The difference between vocational education and general education in universities is that vocational education focuses on practical training and professional skills, and is suitable for students who prefer hands-on learning over academically intensive courses.
Students who are not academically inclined but aspire to become an engineer or accountant may consider taking an Australian vocational course first, and then progresses to a Bachelor's Degree.
Australian vocational education has several different qualifications, particularly Certificate III, IV as well as Diploma and Advanced Diploma for international students. Generally, the entry requirements for technical courses are usually lower than their counterpart at universities. Once the student completes a phase of the course, they can choose to graduate and obtain a certificate of completion (For example, they can graduate with a Diploma and join the workforce). However, students can also enrol into the Bachelor's degree after completing the Diploma or Advanced Diploma course if they opt to do so. This is a good option for students who have poor academic performance but are more proficient in skills and hands-on focused learning.
Melissa Tan, Education Manager of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission in Kuala Lumpur, pointed out that the employment prospect of Australian vocational students are bright, and many people have found jobs before graduation. In contrast, many people have a biased view on vocational education in Malaysia as the graduates are usually seen in the lower hierarchy in the employment field, deeming the qualification worthless. However, the Malaysian government has clearly stated that the country needs more skilled people as much as 1.5 million workers by 2020 where 60% of them are expected to come from VET sector. The Malaysian Ministry of Education has also established a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Empowerment Committee, which shows the government is striving to emphasise the importance of vocational education to the society. In addition to that, the Australian government is working on partnerships with TVET to fill the gaps and exports Australian expertise to assist with the whole process.
For your information, Australian Trade and Investment Commission is the Australian government's trade, investment and education promotion agency with offices in more than 50 countries around the world. According to Melissa Tan, there are about 28,000 Malaysians studying in Australia as of today, of which 14,000 are in higher education, 8,000 are in vocational education. There are currently an estimated 300,000 Australian alumni in Malaysia. This huge network of contacts will be very helpful for the alumni to expand their network and showcased Australia’s excellence in its quality of education.
Flexibility in study options for Australian Education
Not everyone has the budget to study in Australia, but students have the option of completing the whole degree from several local Australian universities and graduate with an Australian degree or they they can choose to study at these Australian universities for one year, and transfer to Australia to complete the second and third year of studies, which can save up a chunk of money. Currently, there are three universities in Australia with branch campuses in Malaysia, namely Monash University, Curtin University and Swinburne University of Technology. With the majority of the shares of three KDU colleges and universities has been sold to the University of Wollongong in Australia recently, students have another option in KDU aside from Monash, Curtin and Swinburne.
However, it is important to take note that there are many student exchange programs and internship opportunities at Australian universities which are usually available as early as second year Bachelor’s studies. If the student chose to transfer to an university in Australia for the last 2 years, he/she may miss the internship opportunities as he/she needs some time to adapt to the local environment, culture and course structure before they are allowed to participate in internships and student exchange programs which meant they will have to do so in the third year instead. Therefore, if parents are able to afford, it is strongly recommended that students should pursue their studies in Australia from the start, so as not to miss these opportunities.
Additionally, the students who studied in Australia for 2 years or more in the undergraduate or postgraduate level are eligible to apply for Post Study Work Visa in Australia which entitles them to seek for employment and work for 2 – 4 years in Australia depending on the qualification. This provides a good incentive for a student who would like to get their hands onto Australian job culture and experience upon their graduation.
Furthermore, Australia is closer to Malaysia than Europe and the United States. For example, the flight to Perth takes only 5 hours and it shares the same timezone as Malaysia which makes it more convenient for both the student and parents to commute and communicate. All in all, students who studied in Australia will encounter a very different life experience than studying locally in Malaysia. Hence, if students seek to study abroad, Australia is highly recommended after taking all these factors into consideration.
Why AECC Global Malaysia
AECC Global has been established for 10 years and has offices in 9 countries. The Malaysia office has been in operation since January this year. As of today, we are having 100% visa grant for our students and we are encouraging the prospective students to look into our Facebook or website for the testimonials written by the students who went through our services. Other than that, we introduced mobile counselling service which is considered as a new initiative in the industry locally where our counsellors provide guidance to students at a cafe near where the students live or study within Klang Valley if there is a need to do so for their convenience.