International Students as Young Migrant Workers in South Australia: Role of University in OHS Awareness and Education

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Yahya Thamrin, University of Adelaide and Hasanuddin University Makassar Indonesia

According to Nylan et al (2010) 50 per cent of international student have undertaken paid work. Approximately 56 per cent of overseas students in Australia have undertaken paid employment during their study period (AEI 2007). This trend has continued to grow. These international students normally undertake jobs in workplaces that rank low in terms of employment stratification (Anderson et al 2011). They are also susceptible to injury and exploitation (Nyland 2010). Language and cultural issues may exacerbate their conditions.

The issue on international students who participate in the workforce is part of migrant workers. The question is whether they are more vulnerable than migrant and young local workers. There have been some studies on either international students’ educational experience or migrants’ working experience. But little has been done to investigate the nexus between the two topics.


Yahya Thamrin’s research focuses on South Australian students. Between 2002 and 2008, SA showed the highest percentage growth of international students inflows.  Previously, in 2010 at Journal of Safety Research  using data from South Australian students his study concluded that there is differences between local and international students in terms of WHS, confidence, knowledge and skills.

His current study observes the following questions: What are the work health and safety experience of international students as young migrant workers in SA? What is the role of the university in terms of health and safety awareness and education for international students?

A range of research methods are applied including quantitative approach(eg WHS tabulator by SafeWork SA) and qualitative approach through Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with international students and lecturers and in-depth interviews with stakeholders such as International Student Centre and heads of schools.

The study documents the injury profile of young NESB workers in South Australia (SA) using the WHS Tabulator Data Set from SafeWork SA. In a second phase, student worker experiences and perspectives is explored using quantitative and qualitative methods, through Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with international students and lecturers and in-depth interviews with stakeholders such as International Student Centre and heads of schools. Finally, the contribution of university education in shaping OHS skills and attitudes is also investigated across a range of disciplines, schools and faculties.

The results of the analysis will be used to generate recommendations for stakeholders to develop a strategy for improving OHS outcomes for this subgroup of young workers, and complement with the SA Youth Work Health Safety (WHS) Strategy.

 

*This article is based on his ongoing PhD project under the guidance of Associate Professor Dino Pisaniello and Dr Cally Guerin.

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2 Comments

Filed under Australia, Education, Employment, PPIA academic discussion

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