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Exploring the work-readiness and employability of youth trainees, vocational and high education graduates in the Asia Pacific.

A seven country study – Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam (2015-2016)

This study is important to contemporary graduates, employers, education institutions and Governments because work-readiness especially among Vocational and Higher Education graduates is a critical attribute identified for transitioning from education and employment and employers are attaching increasing importance to this major labour market requirement (Goldin, 2015).  It provides significance to the notion that Work-readiness emphasises the need for graduates to possess a range of generic skills and attributes that make them prepared or ready for their job success (Casner-Lotto, Barrington and Wright, 2006; Gardner and Liu, 1997; Goldin, 2015; Hart, 2008).

Project participants
Project participants: (L-R) Dr Subas Dhakal, Prof. Dahn Nguyen, Dr Alan Montague, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Ba Ngoc, Adjunct Prof Julia Connell, Prof John Burgess, Prof Kerry Brown, Dr Ros Cameron, Dr Sophie Chang, Prof Jonathan Winterton, Mr Soegeng Priyono, Dr NoorziahSalleh and Adjunct Prof Alan Nankervis.

Project Objectives

The project aims to identify how to improve transition from education to employment and impart the required skills for employment in graduates. Two workshops, one in Singapore and one in Hanoi, provided significant opportunities for the International team to meet and to pool research findings; clarify the parameters of the project; to compare and contrast the similar challenges faced by each of the partner economies; to determine the most appropriate research methods; and to agree on the timelines and outcomes of the project.

Stage 1 – Singapore Workshop – 24-25 November 2015

The first stage of this extensive research project has been completed ahead of schedule, due to the generous participation of the nations within the study. The first stage culminated in a workshop held at Curtin University Campus, Singapore, and was attended by representatives from participating nations.


Singapore Workshop Delegates
Singapore Workshop Delegates: Standing (L-R): Mr Soegeng Priyono, Dr Subas Dhakal, Dr Alan Montague, Prof Kerry Brown, Prof John Burgess, Adjunct Prof. Julia Connell, Assoc. Prof. Peter Waring, Adjunct Prof. Alan Nankervis and Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Ba Ngoc. Sitting: Dr Noorziah Salleh, Dr Sophie Chang, Dr Ros Cameron, Prof. Nguyen Dahn Nguyen and Prof. Jonathan Winterton.

As a result of the workshop, a framework was developed to guide the collaborating teams to collect data on educational strategies for industry and government pathway programs in the Asia-Pacific region.

Stage 2 – Hanoi Workshop – 22-23 April 2016

The second stage of this research project continues to achieve ahead of schedule thanks to the enthusiastic participation of the seven nations involved.  The second stage of the project culminated in a workshop held in Hanoi, Vietnam, generously hosted by our Vietnam partners at Hanoi University of Science and Technology, supported by the Vietnamese Institute of Labor Studies and Social Affairs. The workshop in Vietnam provided the opportunity to discuss and analyse the completed literature reviews, case studies of successful programs, collation of government policies to promote VE and HE transition to employment and collaborative practical frameworks/networks and survey instruments to establish comparative studies between each country.

Hosts of Hanoi Workshop
Hosts of Hanoi Workshop: Associate Professor Nguyen Ba Ngoc, ILSSA and Professor Dahn Nguyen with team members Prof. Kerry Brown and Adjunct Prof. Alan Nankervis.

Summary of Results

  • Results include a comprehensive comparative list of challenges and issues facing Government, Educational Institutions (HE and VET) and Employers/Graduates/Parents in relation to Work-readiness skills. Findings have produced a summary of commonalities in work-readiness weaknesses and deficits across all participating countries. Research is on-going into strategies to respond to the challenges identified.
  • Stage 2 and 3 have led to further relationship building opportunities, such as, a) research linkages with Murdoch Singapore, Curtin Singapore, Curtin Malaysia and RMIT University; and the Commerce Development Research Institute (Taiwan); possible future co-joint APEC grant applications; Institute for Labour & Social Affairs & Hanoi University of Science and Technology (Vietnam); Universiti  Institut Teknologi Mara (Sabah); b) extended Industry and professional association relationships in Australia and participating countries including Pertamina and Australian Human Resource Institute; c) extensive publications in journals and conferences, as well as one confirmed book with Routledge Publishers; and another book proposal with Springer Publishers; d) a successful mentoring program has been implemented between researchers in participating countries; and e) the Work-readiness team has had opportunities to present research findings at the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy (JCIPP) Speaker’s Corner, The Vocational Education Conference in Jakarta, Pertamina Conference to HR managers, Jakarta (Pertamina is the largest local oil and gas corporation), and preparation is underway for holding a proposed Conference on the topic of Work Readiness at Curtin’s Sarawak Campus in Malaysia.

Further information can be obtained from Professor Kerry Brown, School of Management, Curtin Business School.