It’s not a stretch to liken international students in Australia today with women in the 1940s.Just like the ‘we can do it!’ poster that emerged during the Second World War that promoted the role of women in the workforce, a movement similar to this should be happening in Australia.

A major difference is that women were encouraged to work in manufacturing at this time and were given the opportunities to do so. Later we saw the poster image being used to promote feminism, again acting as an empowering motif.

Outcome.Life has launched a street poster campaign similar to this promoting international students in Australia and showing that they can make it here too.

Unlike the women from the old and well-known poster campaign, international students are not given the same opportunity to show what they can do.

They have barriers that prevent them from succeeding and we all aren’t giving them the same prospects to get ahead and do well.

So my question is, why don’t we let them?

They can do it

International students form a large portion of the total students in Australia and want to be doing everything just like the rest of us who were born in this beautiful country.

They account for approximately 24% of total students in the higher education sector, with the highest numbers we have ever seen flocking to our shores to gain Australian qualifications.

We can then say that international students are learning the same things as local students and in turn graduates too have the same qualifications.

On top of that, they have an eagerness to learn, work and live here that some Australians take for granted.

We take without giving much in return

Education plays a large role in Australia’s economy, not only for educating our future generations but also as one of our biggest exports.

In 2016, education was Australia’s 3rd largest export with international education being worth $22.4 billion to the Australian economy.

On saying this, Hobsons Solutions report from last year shows that only 34% of workplaces hire international graduates.

International graduates that I have known and worked with, have found that employers find hiring them a ‘risk’ if they are not a permanent resident.

Australia seems so willing to take money from these people for their own benefit particularly with the excessively high price tags put on courses and places for international students.

Yet we are reluctant to offer them jobs in return for the contribution they’ve already made to our economy.

We need to increase opportunities

Not only is it important to cast light on the challenges these people face in Australia, but we need to be creating scope for them to succeed.

I’d like to see more workplaces willing to recruit international graduates rather than disregard them compared to those that were born here.

We need to play our part in empowering them to do what they came here to do, because they so desperately want to work and live here, even if we don’t appreciate it.

They know that they can do it. All we should to be doing is offer them the courage, optimism and opportunities they need.