Statement: Novaskill

08 November 2016

I rise today to speak about vocational education, in particular one registered training organisation servicing my electorate, Novaskill, who have seized a new opportunity in the aged-care sector in China. By 2020, China's population will reach 1.4 billion, of which an incredible 248 million will be aged 60 or over. In preparation, the country has embarked on fundamental health and aged-care reforms, expanding the number of aged-care facilities to house the elderly and increasing the number of workers trained to look after them. By 2020, China aims to have 35 to 40 aged-care beds per 1,000 residents over 60 and an aged-care workforce of 10 million people. That is an ambitious task and one in which Hunter Valley based training provider Novaskill, known in the China context as HGT Australia, will play a role. The company which has been in business in Australia for 36 years has found success in China by developing tailored training programs that respect the local culture and meet the specific needs of students and aged-care providers. As general manager John Liddicoat says, putting the programs through a Chinese filter has worked so well for them.

In China, the care of the elderly would traditionally have fallen to families, but China's one-child policy together with its modernisation have challenged traditional care models and created a need for a support industry around aged care. The company entered China in 2014 in response to the demand for high-quality aged-care training and last year signed a deal with Shanghai Pharmaceutical School to provide a training program for assistant nurses. As many as 2,000 students a year can be trained using their curriculum. HGT Australia also developed strategic partnerships with hospitals, schools, public and private aged-care providers in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai.

The process of building trust and strong relationships with Chinese partners has deepened the company's understanding of the diversity of China's regions and how important it is to take into account these differences when doing business in China. This registered training organisation is doing great work, but they have potentially suffered because of the dodgy providers who have been in the media spotlight, and I would like to congratulate Novaskill on being one of the exemplars. (Time expired)