The Australian government funds both short-term and long-term awards geared towards developing countries. Usually, Australian tertiary institutions make competitive bids to implement these awards. The International Business Development Unit of Griffith University recently won a bid to mount a short-term training programme geared towards mid-ranking bureaucrats in Indonesia representing a diverse range of ministries. The theme of this programme is ‘labour market forecasting needs for education policy’ which falls under the rubric of ‘Australia Awards Indonesia (AAI).’
I have the pleasure and privilege of being appointed a ‘course leader’. The programme has three components: (1) a pre-course component in Jakarta (2) an in-course component in Australia (Brisbane, with short study tours to Adelaide and Canberra) (3) a post-course component in Jakarta. The programme started in February of this year and concludes in July.
I have been involved with many short-term training programmes, mainly on behalf of the ILO, and also participated for three years in a New Delhi-based programme that was supported by IDRC, Canada. This capacity building initiative was geared towards early career researchers in South Asia. If I use these programmes as benchmarks, I would rate the current training programme for Indonesian policy-makers highly. I particularly like its emphasis on requiring participants to build a feasible and readily usable project that they could implement once they return to work in the post-training phase. I am expecting some concrete outcomes, such as new estimates of the digital economy using raw data from the labour force surveys, and original estimates of ‘NEET’ (young persons ‘not in employment, education or training’) also drawing on raw data from multiple surveys. Some participants are keen to develop an Indonesian version of a regular series on ‘Employment Outlook’ using an adapted Australian template. While the participants will be professionally enriched from these exercises, the beneficiaries are expected to be both broad and diverse.