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Australia supports graduate careers in China

Australia has held a major student careers fair in Shanghai in an attempt to boost its profile in China – its number one student market. The event, which was said to be the first of its kind in China hosted by a foreign country, addressed the increasing competition Chinese graduates face in finding work in China after studying overseas.

The fair in Shanghai welcomed 1,200 graduates of Australian universitiesThe fair in Shanghai welcomed 1,200 graduates of Australian universities

“It pioneered a shift in education promotion from ‘before’ to ‘after’"

Fifteen Australian universities and 43 companies took part, with some 1,200 students attending.

“This pilot event aimed to re-position Australia as a high quality education provider, demonstrating the value of Australian education through job outcomes and career opportunities,” said trade body Austrade, which organised the fair.

Fifteen Australian universities 43 companies offered advice on career opportunities

Companies to offer guidance included ANZ Bank, BlueScope Steel China and Rio Tinto. Chinese graduates were also able to seek and apply for jobs through an online portal where some 3,800 applications were received.

China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security has said an estimated seven million graduates will enter the Chinese job market in 2012, and warns that foreign degrees are “no longer a passport to a degree”.

“The job prospects of the ‘sea turtles’ (the nickname for returned overseas graduates) is a hot topic of discussion in China,” it said on its website, praising Austrade’s efforts.

“Aligning the investment in an overseas education to real job outcomes and career choices is becoming the defining value proposition in the minds of Chinese students and parents.”

Austrade has been working to restore Australia’s appeal as a study destination after a two-year lull in overseas recruitment caused by visa concerns and a high dollar. 49,800 Chinese nationals were granted a student visa in 2010/11 (the largest overseas cohort in Australia) however this was down 8.6% on the previous year, according to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

The body said the fair had generated positive feedback from students and media, and that it was considering ways “to support and follow up the outcomes” of the event. “[This fair] pioneered a shift in education promotion from ‘before’ to ‘after’ to enhance and differentiate the brand positioning of Australia as a study destination in the China market,” it said.

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