International Student Pilot Programs

“There’s no such thing as a pilot program, it is just students coming back to their daily life.”

As this $40 Billion sector continues to be battered by this vortex of issues brought on by no international student arrivals, we have all been dreaming, hoping, for some kind of sign that there will be students at some point. There are many passionate people within the sector advocating and planning to bring international students back to Australia.

For our 14th industry webinar we welcomed Professor Sarah Todd, Vice President (Global), Griffith University and Craig Carracher, Partner, Chairman Australia and Asia, Scape to share their views and experiences to date. Regular co-host Rob Lawrence joined James Martin from Insider Guides to discuss what success could look like, which partnerships need to be at play, and what is holding the program back from bringing students in now.

As Craig suggests, “it is entirely wrong to say that the pilot programs will be a logistical nightmare but there are some roadblocks. PBSA (Purpose-Built Student Accommodation) is waiting and ready to solve the quarantine issue, we’ve been doing this every day and across all properties there has not been a single case.”

Panelists and many in the audience acknowledged that the issue has been complicated by incorrect community perception that international students are a burden on our communities. Sarah responded that there was “confusion in people’s minds about what an international student is and what they do when they’re in Australia, they are not a burden on communities because of the support structures in place from their institutions and accommodation providers.”

Unsurprisingly with such a passionate panel and audience, 80% of respondents to our in-webinar poll said that the pilot should go ahead, with a further 12% agreeing but suggesting that the program required further consideration.