Young people, employment and the Coalition’s regional challenge
Written by Associate Professor Lucas Walsh for The Conversation
The Coalition government has begun its term in office with some controversial policy proposals related to Australia’s international engagement. These include cuts to international aid, hardline responses to asylum seekers and, less controversially, revisiting the Colombo Plan. They reflect a series of tensions arising in Australia’s engagement with the region. Education is seen to play a significant role in “soft diplomacy”.
The 2013 edition of How Young People are Faring, published by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), highlights some key trends in young people’s transition from school to work, study and training related to their cultural backgrounds, as well as Australia’s economic relationship to the region. It pulls into focus certain cultural and economic challenges for the Coalition government that require a nuanced understanding of some key dynamics of Australia’s engagement with Asia.
These dynamics suggest that any strategy to engage the region should recognise this engagement as a two-way street; one that flows inwards and outwards and which should draw from a nexus between local and international education.