Saturday, 20 October 2018 Sydney
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Sydney education a major international export::

The City of Sydney will work hand-in-hand with government agencies, education providers and businesses to support international students as education has become one of Australia’s leading exports.

The new program is part of the City of Sydney’s draft international education action plan that includes programs and funding to welcome students to Sydney, promote health and wellbeing services and increase their employability.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City’s first formal program to support the international education sector would further strengthen global connections and help maintain Sydney’s status as Australia’s leading education destination.

“The international student market contributes over $1.6 billion to the local economy and generates demand for more than 10,000 fulltime jobs,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This program is an important step in attracting young people to Sydney and increasing awareness among businesses of the contribution international students can make to Sydney’s talent pool.

“By partnering with the education sector, agencies and businesses in providing a harmonious experience, international students and their families will form lifelong connections with Sydney, possibly even returning as business leaders in the future.

“International students enhance Sydney’s vibrancy and liveability by contributing to our cultural diversity and building our reputation internationally as a centre for learning, research and innovation. In the long-term, this is a great way of attracting top global talent.

“Over seven per cent of Australia’s total international visitor and related income is derived from international students in our local area. This policy reflects the City’s commitment to creating a global city for residents, workers, visitors and students alike,” the Lord Mayor said.

The launch of the City’s international education action plan has been welcomed by the NSW Department of Industry’s director of international trade, Peter Mackey.

“NSW is Australia’s leading destination for international students with the sector one of the largest export industries and employers,” Mr Mackey said.

“All levels of government have a role in working together to ensure international students have a safe and positive experience while studying in NSW and return home to endorse our state as a great education destination.”

Hannah Mazeline Villa Conejos, from the Philippines, is studying a Master of Commerce degree at the Darlinghurst campus of the Charles Sturt University. She is also a member of the City’s award-winning international student leadership and ambassadors program.

She believes the support programs for Sydney’s visiting international students has helped her overcome homesickness.

“Being away from home is a big hurdle for international students, so activities and information that could help make Sydney feel like a second home really help in adding value to the experience,” Ms Conejos said.

“The ambassador program has been a way for me to access volunteering opportunities and relevant training. I think it’s a really good initiative by the City of Sydney. It has also given me a sense of empowerment that can help support other international students.”

Following consultation with industry partners, the City’s plan sets out a framework for supporting the sector over the next 10 years. Projects include:

Official welcome for international students – this popular event attended by 1,000 international students brings together relevant service providers, resource materials and educational institutions and strengthens Sydney’s position as an education destination of choice.

International airport welcome desk – The City is supporting the Sydney International Airport Welcome Desk for students, with a $30,000 grant to StudyNSW to help fund the initiative. Volunteers provide maps, local guides, information and advice to help Sydney’s new visitors find their way.

International student guide to Sydney – The guide written by students contains useful information for navigating Sydney, including a city orientation, cultural events listings, dining and leisure activities, safety and wellbeing information. It is available at the Sydney airport welcome desk, the Lord Mayor’s welcome event and through local education providers.

Education provider wellbeing and safety forums – A joint initiative by the City, StudyNSW and NSW Police, the forums provide resources to the international education sector to help create a safe and positive stay for students.