Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year from Edutec. In 2013 we look forward to publishing a range of new Business and English language learning eBooks.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Foreign workers approved for mining jobs

Australia’s government announced Friday it will allow a new mine to hire about 1,700 foreign workers to alleviate a labour shortage threatening the resources boom. Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, said the government’s first Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA) had been granted to the $9.3 billion Roy Hill iron ore mining project, part-owned by the country’s richest person and the world’s wealthiest woman Gina Rinehart. In a statement, Bowen said that, while the community justifiably wanted to ensure Australians had the first go at job opportunities presented by the mining boom, skilled migrants were critical to getting these projects off the ground. “The government’s first priority is always ensuring jobs for Australian workers, but there is a need for temporary workers to help keep our economy strong,” Bowen said. “With more than 8,000 workers required during the construction phase of the Roy Hill project, there simply aren’t enough people in the local workforce to get the job done,” he added. Australian authorities believe these types of agreements will address one of the biggest risks to many resources projects – the inadequate supply of labour and skills in the short-term construction phase. Under the EMA approved Friday, Roy Hill will provide up to 2000 training places for Australians. This includes places for more than 200 Australian apprentices and trainees, as well as preparing over 100 foreigners to work in the construction industry. The minister said the EMA also sets out protections to ensure that foreign workers are only recruited after genuine efforts to first employ Australians, and that visa holders engaged on the project receive the same wages and conditions as their Australian counterparts. Major miners, such as Rio Tinto, have taken the bull by the horns and launched their own recruitment initiatives earlier this year. In April, for instance, Rio started an aggressive recruitment campaign to fill 6,000 vacancies across its 30 operations in Australia, which is considered the largest such campaign in the country’s history.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Foreign language study in Australian schools

The following comes from: EVERY preschool child would have to study a foreign language if the Coalition wins the next election, as part of Tony Abbott's vision to help prepare Australia for the Asian boom. And within a decade, 40 per cent of Year 12 students would be studying a second language under a target set by Mr Abbott in his Budget reply speech last night. China was Australia's biggest trading partner but there are just 300 Year 12 students of Mandarin who aren't of Chinese heritage across Australia. Japanese, the language of Australia's second-biggest trading partner, had seen a 21 per cent decline in students studying it since 2001. "Indonesia is a vital partner in Australia's long-term future and on current trends Indonesian will disappear from Year 12 studies within four years," Mr Abbott said in a joint statement with his deputy Julie Bishop and education spokesman Christopher Pyne. Korean had all but disappeared from the education system - a concern because Korea is Australia's third-largest trading partner. "Similarly Australia's relationship with India is of growing importance and the Australian-Indian community numbers more than 300,000," Mr Abbott said. "But there has been a steady decline in the study of Hindi in Australia - for example in 2010 only 16 students sat the NSW HSC in Hindi." If Australians wanted to make their way in the world, they could not rely on other people speaking their language, Mr Abbott said. "The Coalition believes that starting in pre-school every student should have an exposure to foreign languages," he said. The shift would be generational because foreign language speakers would have to be mobilised and teachers trained. "We will urgently work with the states to ensure that the Australian workforce of the future can grasp the full opportunity of the Asian century," Mr Abbott said. The announcement mirrored the Coalition's policy on teaching children foreign languages in its 2010 election platform but provided more specific targets and details. Read more:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Employer's Resonsibilties Video Clip

Thanks to WorkSafe WA for alerting us to this video. Although the content is from North America, it shows the way accidents can happen due to poor language skills, and poor cultural awareness on behalf of the native English speaker.

Worker shortage poses threat to major projects

According to the editorial of the West Australian newspaper on 17-18 March, the mining industry has estimated that WA will be short by 150,000 workers over the next four years.
This is having upward pressure on wages and causing WA companies to look overseas for foreign workers. However, it has been noted that overseas workers may face issues, such as with English language and a lack of other required skills.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

'Cold Cash' Reasons to Test Workplace English Proficiency

The following comes from the TOEIC USA team.

As discussed in my previous post, lack of employee English proficiency at the levels needed for their jobs is a serious problem even in the United States (as well as other "English speaking" nations increasingly relying on non-native speakers).

But what does this mean for the U.S. employers? How does it impact "cold cash" results? Not well. A few of the different impacts:

Companies that practice highly effective communications deliver 47% higher return to shareholders than those that do not, according to a Towers Watson ROI study. Businesses that lack even assurance that employees know English well enough to do their jobs, can expect to bring far less than half the money they could with well-trained staff.

Employees with poor English skills deliver an hour less work a week on average according to research by software developer GlobalEnglish.

It is well-known that lack of ability to properly understand and respond to questions/complaints is one of the top causes of customer dissatisfaction. Lack of English language proficiency is a major contributor to this problem. Few customers may bother to file a complaint with you over such issues, but many will take their business elsewhere.

Especially if your organization is involved in work that can impact public health and safety, an employee with poor English skills can open you up to legal action. One example is the successful suit and European Union-wide demand for better physician English language testing in the United Kingdom following the death of a patient because of a doctor's low English proficiency.

Staff who are not English proficient often have untapped potential from which you could be benefitting. According to a recent Brookings Institute study, almost half of U.S. immigrants with a bachelor's degree-level education are underemployed and have the education and skills to do higher level jobs. Top reason for not holding the jobs they are otherwise qualified for? Lack of English skills.

Research shows that lack of opportunity for training and development is one of the top three reasons employees plan to leave their jobs.

Better that employees with inadequate language proficiency for their jobs do leave before they do damage? Not so fast. Multiple research studies show that the cost of replacing even a low-paid hourly worker is high—25% to 50% of the employee's annual salary. Costs for losing an employee in sales, management, or other salaried positions can be even more. Training (or screening before hiring) is a better, cheaper solution.

It's hard to fully assess English proficiency for specific positions among potential hires or staff while still meeting EEOC regulations designed to prevent workplace discrimination (and again open yourself up to legal action). You need a valid, objective measure such as TOEIC tests to reliably and safely assess English skills.

—Lia Nigro, USA