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Saturday, October 31, 2020

International Students to Learn Water Safety

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The NSW Government has launched seven projects to support international students learning water safety in NSW under the Study NSW Partner Projects grant scheme.

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade John Barilaro and Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh made the announcement today at Park Beach in Coffs Harbour where there has been high risk of drowning incidences.

“As Australia’s most popular study destination, NSW has a responsibility to our 265,000 international students – to not just ensure they have a rewarding experience during their studies here, but also that they are kept safe,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Many of the students arriving from overseas and particularly landlocked countries have limited experience of swimming and lack understanding of the water safety notions that we take for granted here in Australia – this puts them at the greatest risk of drowning.”

A NSW Government grant of more than $46,000 will fund one project led by NSW Police (NSWPF) in collaboration with Surf Life Saving NSW, Royal Life Saving NSW and the Northern Beaches Council, to create a multilingual video for non-English speaking students to learn swim safety in Australian beaches.

Mr Singh said the initiative will encourage students to enrol in swimming lessons and familiarise themselves with various aspects of water safety, whether they are in the surf, rock fishing, or swimming in pools, rivers and other waterways.

“Sadly in recent years we have had a significant number of drownings off our local beaches and in almost all cases it was because they have entered the water without fully appreciating or understanding the dangers and their own ability to deal with them,” Mr Singh said.

“Our local international students are at particular risk so it’s great to see some of them here today witnessing the launch of this fantastic initiative that will help to save lives.”

Superintendent Gavin Dengate of NSWPF said international students have to familiarise themselves very quickly with multiple aspects of Australian life for successful integration during their limited time here.

“The NSWPF plays an important part in supporting this process. This project will not only provide information, it will give practical learning opportunities to international students for their safe participation in the many great leisure water activities NSW waterways offer.” Mr Dengate said.

The Partner Projects initiative was established by Study NSW in 2014 to attract international students to NSW and enhance their study experience from arrival to graduation. The nearly $200,000 in NSW Government funding is being matched by over $500,000 in cash and in-kind contributions by sector partners.

Recipients in the 2019-20 round are:

  • Macquarie University: $25,959 for Univative 2020, a collaboration of multiple universities and employers to build employability skills and foster community engagement for hundreds of international students.
  • Western Sydney University: $40,000 for INTERCHANGE, a four week work integrated learning program building entrepreneurial skills for 250 international students from eight universities in NSW.
  • English Australia: $11,000 to partner with governments, BUPA and providers to develop a Guide to Best Practice in International Student Safety covering physical safety, cyber safety, sexual safety, workplace safety and beach safety.
  • NSW Police Force: $46,250 to partner with Surf Life Saving NSW, Royal Life Saving, NSW Office of Sport and Northern Beaches Council to create a multilingual video resource to raise awareness of water safety among international students who are at high risk of drowning in Australia.
  • NSW Health (NSW Sexually Transmissible Infections Programs Unit): $35,000 to work with 15 partners to launch a sexual and reproductive health digital support service for international students.
  • University of Wollongong: $10,000 to work with regional partners to deliver a series of events for international students to enhance their connection between campus, community and the Illawarra region.
  • International Education Association of Australia: $20,000 to collaborate with student accommodation providers to research international student accommodation in NSW and use the findings to advocate for improved policy.

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