Leaving on a jet plane to work in Asia

THE study choices of students at universities in Western Australia is reflecting a growing trend among workers in this State to look to Asia for employment and career oppor-tunities.

WA students are continuing to take a keen interest in Asia, with Murdoch University, the University of Western Australia and Curtin University offering Asian study programs.

According to the statistics office at UWA, 213 students were enrolled in the Asian Studies program in 1999, 230 in 2000 and, most recently, 212 students in 2001, although this number was expected to increase later in the year.

This interest in Asia is also evidenced by the number of participants in the Japan Teaching and Exchange Program (JET).

In 2000, there were 17 participants in the JET program, while this year about 30 students are taking part.

Of the participants, 90 per cent teach English or their native languages at high schools in Japan and 10 per cent work as coordinators for international relations, or as sports educators.

JET program officer Gregory Loton says an increasing number of schools in Japan are specifically asking for Western Australians to teach in their schools.

“The Japanese have had good experiences with Western Australian students, especially since the students are well-prepared when they go

over to teach in Japan,” he says.

Suzanne Mcdonough, a previous JET participant, says she would consider working there again.

“It widens your horizons and has taught me so much about other people and nations. I would jump at the chance again,” Ms Mcdonough says. chief executive officer Paul Basset thinks is part of an international trend, and that more people are looking at the global market for employment.

“Borders are becoming less relevant as people are becoming more and more aware of opportunities in global market and are more prepared to move to look for a job,” he says.

“Companies are casting their nets wider.

“Global companies are also continually competing to attract talent.”

Tmp.worldwide (WA) general manager Barry Knight says his company places people in its Asian operative branches, including Singapore and Hong Kong.

Certain clients also have requested for successful candidates to be placed in overseas offices in Asia, he says.

Over the past 12 months, more than 100 Australians have been placed in positions in Asia.

“There is a constant demand because of a skills shortage and a growth in the economies in Asia,” Mr Knight says.

This demand is mainly in the sectors of accounting, finance and technologically skilled industries, he says.

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