New wave of COVID-19 infections in Thailand shines spotlight on employment situation of foreign workers

BANGKOK: Pyi Some Aung has worked at the Central Shrimp Market in Samut Sakhon for 13 years. For the first time since he moved to Thailand from Myanmar, he is barred from leaving the premises.

His workplace became a major cluster of COVID-19 last month. The outbreak at the market has resulted in more than 3,000 infections so far, prompting authorities to close off the area and nearby apartments resided by thousands of foreign workers, mostly from Myanmar.

“The lockdown began on Dec 19. As soon as the announcement was made, military officers came here to bar every entrance and exit, stopping people from wandering outside. We can leave our rooms for a walk and live normally, but we’re not allowed to leave the market area,” said Pyi Some Aung. 

“I haven’t been able to work yet.”

People stand in lines to get COVID-19 tests in Samut Sakhon, South of Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. Thailand reported more than 500 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the highest daily tally in a country that had largely brought the pandemic under control. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)

Mass transmission of COVID-19 in Samut Sakhon marked a new wave of infections in Thailand. A number of businesses have been affected by the outbreak and so have thousands of foreign workers, including Pyi Some Aung, who has lost his main income for weeks. 

As COVID-19 continues to jeopardise business operators in Samut Sakhon, rights groups are concerned a number of migrants, particularly those who are not legally registered, could become jobless and be pressured to seek work elsewhere.

“Samut Sakhon took in workers when other areas in the country were on lockdown previously,” said Adisorn Kerdmongkol from Migrant Working Group – a coalition of local NGOs advocating labour rights and welfare.

“A number of migrants here are working illegally and living secretly. They have no health security. So, we’re worried the situation could reverse. With factories closed, migrants would return to the same condition, which is jobless. They’d have to work elsewhere and that could be out of control. If that happens, we could face a big problem,” he added.

Virus Outbreak Thailand

People stand in lines to get COVID-19 tests in Samut Sakhon, South of Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Dec 20, 2020. (Photo: AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)

Last year, Thailand reported zero cases locally for several months. But the situation turned upside down after a 67-year-old Thai vendor at the Central Shrimp Market tested positive for the disease on Dec 17 despite no overseas travel records.

The Disease Control Department has so far reported more than 3,200 cases of COVID-19 in 44 provinces with links to the outbreak in Samut Sakhon. Its deputy director Thanarak Phaliphat said the employment situation of migrant workers is a cause for concern.

“If you ask whether we’re worried, I have to say we are. But in terms of what we can do, this is the responsibility of other governmental units. At the same time, it’s also the responsibility of the private sector, which has to understand and develop a policy of not employing these migrating workers,” he told CNA.


Samut Sakhon is a coastal province southwest of Bangkok. It is a hub of Thailand’s seafood industry and home to a large number of factories and foreign workers.

Based on data from the Department of Employment, some 240,000 migrants are employed in the province. However, according to Adisorn, an estimated 200,000 others are believed to be working there illegally and some have already lost their jobs as a result of the recent outbreak.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Thailand

A healthcare worker takes a nasal swab sample of a child for a COVID-19 test at a migrant community, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Samut Sakhon province, in Thailand, December 20, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

The temporary closure of the Central Shrimp Market means several businesses cannot operate. At the same time, Adisorn said, fear of inspection and arrest by the authorities have led some employers to lay off illegal foreign workers.

Pyi Some Aung said some migrants are worried about losing their jobs once the market reopens.

“Because the market isn’t open yet, nobody knows if they still have their jobs,” he told CNA. 

Some are concerned they may not get their jobs back, their employers may not hire them again, or they wouldn’t be able to send money home because they aren’t working.

To prevent mass labour movements and limit the risk of transmission, Adisorn from Migrant Working Group said the Thai government needs to keep as many migrants employed as possible.

“We have to find out how to delay unemployment as much as possible. In case it has to happen, there should be some financial compensation to enable t hem to stay on and look for jobs in the province without having to go move elsewhere,” Adisorn told CNA.

“Eventually, when they really can’t stay there anymore and have to move, their movement should be directed by the Ministry of Labour, which could find them new employers in other areas while ensuring safe movement.” 

On Dec 29, the cabinet granted a special approval for foreign workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to continue residing and working legally in Thailand until Feb 13, 2023 amid the spread of COVID-19. The proposal was put forth by the Ministry of Labour as part of the government’s efforts to control local transmission.

The target groups include Cambodian, Laotian and Myanmar nationals whose work permits have expired, undocumented foreign workers and their children aged no more than 18.


Since the outbreak in Samut Sakhon, Thai health officials said they have drawn on Singapore’s experience to control the transmission, with some adjustments to suit the local context. Infected patients are separated from the Central Shrimp Market for treatment at field hospitals, as proactive testing continues in foreign communities.

Thailand seafood market COVID-19 testing

People queue to get tested for COVID-19 at a seafood market in Samut Sakhon on Dec 19, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Jack Taylor)  

According to Thanarak, those who are confined in the market area and nearby apartments are patients who have recovered and residents testing negative for COVID-19 who continue to be monitored.

“There is no other way than to carry out tests in the Myanmar communities as much as possible and to do it faster than before, and this will need to continue for a while,” he said.

“However, it may be difficult to test every migrant worker because there are so many of them,” he added. “So, the strategy is to carry out tests and separate the patients in order to stop the transmission. It’s likely a lot of tests will be carried out almost weekly for an unknown period of time.”

On Tuesday (Jan 12), Thailand reported 287 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case number to 10,834. So far, 6,732 patients have recovered and 67 have died.

Thank you for spending your time with us on My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed reading this news update about Asian news updates titled “New wave of COVID-19 infections in Thailand shines spotlight on employment situation of foreign workers”. This news release was posted by MyLocalPages as part of our news aggregator services.

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Australian Economy Would Likely Recover In 2021 According To The Treasurer, What Involved Such Claims?

A promising hope has been pointed out by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg as he said he feels very optimistic that the economy will be recovering from the ashes of the pandemic in 2021. However, he noted that Australia is “not out of the woods” just yet.

As per his statement with the media, Mr Frydenberg affirmed that the $7 billion in the Federal Government stage two tax cuts that were brought forward last October has aided greatly in boosting the economy.

“We’re seeing the benefits of that money rolling out into people’s pockets $7 billion that’s coming into people’s pockets in the last six months. Another $9 billion over coming months as well.” He said.

He also cited that there were notably good signs that the impacts of pandemic restrictions towards employment have been gradually mitigated.

According to him “Eighty-five per cent of the 1.3 million Australians who either lost their jobs or saw their working hours reduced to zero at the height of the pandemic are now back at work. So there are some positive and hopeful signs across the economy. But we’re not out of the woods just yet.”

All that being said the Treasure has ruled out as he brought forward the planned stage three tax cuts, and also extending the Jobkeeper wage subsidy.

On the other hand, Peter Strong, CEO of Small Business Council told media that the government should consider the extension of Jobkeeper, especially for the heavily impacted industries such as hospitality as it ends in March.

Yet, Mr Frydenberg said gaining control of the virus would best help the economy.

He said, “What will support hospitality beyond March is containing the virus on the health front. That is the best thing you can do for the economy is to get the virus.”

Adding to that, he also affirmed his expectation towards the Brisbane lockdown to be lifted today upon recording no new coronavirus cases for two successive days yesterday in the state.

UK redundancies at record levels as Covid-19 hits employment

Britain’s jobs crisis has worsened, as companies continue to lay people off as the Covid-19 pandemic hits the economy.

Figures just released by the Office for National Statistics show that the UK unemployment rate rose to 4.9% in the three months to October, up from 4.8% a month earlier.

Although that’s less than economists expected, it’s still 1.2 percentage points higher than a year earlier and 0.7 percentage points higher than the previous quarter.

The ONS says:

August to October 2020 estimates show a large increase in the unemployment rate and a record number of redundancies, while the employment rate continues to fall.

The ONS reports that around 1.69 million people were unemployed in the August-October period, an increase of 241,000 on the previous quarter — and 411,000 more than a year ago.

Today’s labour market report also shows that there were 32.52 million people aged 16 years and over in employment during the quarter — 280,000 fewer than a year earlier.

This was the largest annual decrease since January to March 2010.

Employment decreased by 144,000 on the quarter, the ONS says, adding:

This quarterly decrease was mainly driven by men in employment, the self-employed and part-time workers, but was partly offset by an increase in full-time employees.

Matthew Percival, CBI Director of People and Skills, said: “Another bleak set of figures this month, with a steep rise in unemployment and more redundancies showing households were still being hit hard, even ahead of England’s second national lockdown.

“While news of a vaccine has provided hope, many firms are still finding it difficult to operate within the toughest Covid restrictions.

“With millions more expected to be living under the toughest tier before the end of the week, the Government must continue to do what it can to help businesses get through winter.”

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Disability royal commission hears about barriers to finding employment faced by people like Yuri

Yuri Sianski has spent the last 25 years trying to find a job — and his father has told the disability royal commission the situation is a “shameful cul-de-sac of neglect”.

Yuri, 47, from Hobart, lives with schizophrenia and has trained as a bartender and a cleaner but has only ever managed to find unskilled work.

Mr Sianski and his father gave evidence together via video link from Hobart to the disability royal commission hearing into the barriers faced by people with disability to find and maintain employment.

Edward Sianski, Yuri’s father, told the inquiry he became angry when he saw his son was being “exploited” whilst doing a plastering job — one of the small number of casual jobs he had been able to find over the past 25 years.

“People who employed Yuri realised he was on a Disability Support Pension [DSP] and that he couldn’t earn more than a certain amount,” he said.

“They didn’t pay him anywhere near the work he was doing.

“I knew Yuri was being exploited but I thought to myself it’s better for Yuri to go out and do something rather than stay in his flat all day.”

He said structures were not available for his son and others like him to get a job and they should be.

An employment agency organised for Yuri Sianski to do a bartending course, but he has not found any work after years of looking.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

Yuri Sianski told the hearing he was about 20 years old when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

He had to stop his apprenticeship studying mechanical engineering at TAFE.

After a period of ill health, he was put on a DSP and while his father tried to help him find work, he said that “the whole thing was futile”.

“It was just a big effort but there was no mechanism in place to help him,” Edward Sianski said.

“I felt bereft of any support from outside. I was just beavering away and getting nowhere.”

Senior counsel assisting Kate Eastman told the royal commission earlier this week that Australians with disability were less likely to be in paid work — relative to those without a disability — and more likely to be over-educated for their jobs, have lower earnings and poor job satisfaction.

She said almost half of the discrimination complaints received by the Australian Human Rights Commission were from people with a disability and many of those complaints were about employment.

The royal commission will hear from more than 20 witnesses this week.

Mr Sianski told the hearing he was pleased when an employment agency stepped in for his son, because he did not have the “expertise” to find him a job.

The agency organised for Yuri to do a bartending course and he looked for hospitality work for two years.

“I sent so many resumes to all the bars around Hobart,” Mr Sianski said. “I tried hard. Unfortunately [there wasn’t] even a phone call or a letter or anything.”

Three men walking up stairs
Mr Sianski said he was worried about the future for his 22-year-old grandson Kayden (R).(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

He told the royal commission he worried about the prospects for both his son and his 22-year-old grandson Kayden, who also lives with schizophrenia.

“A mental illness is a condition that ebbs and flows.

“Yuri represents many, many people in this situation, they have a mental illness, they are put on a DSP and then they’re forgotten about.”

Mr Sianski said his grandson was receiving a DSP and an NDIS package that provided job-seeking support but he had been unable to find work.

“I’m just worried that down the track he will lose that support and end up on his own trying to scrounge jobs,” he said.

“I don’t know what his future will be, I just don’t know.”

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Disability Royal Commission hears about employment challenges

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Christian Porter says new bill would see casual workers offered permanent employment


December 07, 2020 15:02:47

The Federal government announced details of its proposed overhaul of industrial relations legislation. The bill includes changes that would force businesses to offer casual workers a permeant position if they worked regular hours for a year.

Source: ABC News
Duration: 2min 43sec






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Covid-19 and employment – The fates of Arcadia and Debenhams point to retail’s huge problem | Britain

UNABLE TO COMPETE with the convenience of shopping online, the high street has been crumbling for years; and the covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend. Arcadia, a retailing conglomerate, announced that it would enter administration on November 30th. The next day Debenhams, a 207-year-old department store chain, which has been in administration since April, said it would start winding down its business. Some 25,000 jobs are at risk across the two companies. The real estate they occupy, some 15.5m square feet according to the Local Data Company, a research firm, risks falling fallow.

The retailing business employs 3m people and occupies vast swathes of property. The proportion of shopping done online has increased from 20% before the pandemic to 27% today, according to data compiled by the Royal Society for Arts. Whereas jobs in hospitality and leisure are likely to return as the virus subsides, the changes in retail are “a longer-term adjustment and the jobs won’t bounce back”, reckons Hannah Slaughter of the Resolution Foundation, a think-tank.

The full effects of the covid shock to retail are likely to arrive next summer. By then the government’s job-retention scheme, and its holiday on business rates, a commercial-property tax paid to local authorities, will have run out. The truth will be writ in retailers’ quarterly filings, which lag by three months. It will almost certainly mean a sharp rise in the number of unemployed retail workers, and the number of unoccupied commercial premises in town centres. Ms Slaughter notes that the long decline of retail over the past decade has been slow enough to manage itself from a policy perspective. The pandemic’s acceleration may require government help to minimise the pain.

Retail workers who lose their jobs as a result of covid-19—the British Retailers Consortium reckons they will number a quarter of a million by the summer—are more likely to find work in other sectors, such as care, which is short of labour. Ms Slaughter suggests that government work-coaches might focus more on this reallocation than they usually do.

Empty shops may be a harder problem to solve. A loosening of planning laws may encourage the repurposing of vacated shops for a trendier and more diverse range of businesses and allow a mix of retail and residential to revive town centres. But the results of an older retail bankruptcy suggest caution. A quarter of the property left empty by British Home Stores, which went bust in 2016, is still empty today. In the premises that have new tenants, the majority are other retailers paying knockdown rents, according to Ronald Nyakairu of the Local Data Company. In a few places, such as London, have they found new uses: one in Putney has become a swanky block of flats, while one on Oxford Street is an indoor golf course.

But for depressed town centres, left behind in myriad other ways, the hipsterfication of the cavernous corpses of shopping spaces looks an empty promise. Bringing vibrancy to those areas will be far more complicated. And for the retail workers there who have lost their jobs? A position at an Amazon logistics warehouse beckons. Those are being built apace.

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Shopocalypse”

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The latest employment figures were a pleasant surprise, but we have a long way to go | Greg Jericho | Business

The latest labour force figures were that weird occurrence of the unemployment rising being met with applause. And yet while the jobs growth in October was much better than expected, nothing in the figures suggest the recovery is close to completed.

Usually when the unemployment rate rises, as it did in October from 6.9% to 7.0%, it is a bad sign. And yet when the ABS released the October labour force figures generally the response was positive.

While the unemployment rate rose, employment increased by 1.4% – some 178,800 more people employed. The unemployment rate rose because the number of people returning to the labour force surged due to people in Victoria being able to both get back to work, and start looking for work.

The number of unemployed in Victoria rose by nearly 32,000, but in the rest of the country the number of unemployed fell by six and half thousand.

It’s why when we exclude Victoria, Australia’s unemployment rate actually fell in October from 7.0% to 6.9%:

Graph not appearing? View here

Either way though it is not overly great, and these bad figures generated a positive response only because the most recent payroll job numbers suggested employment in October would be at best flat, and possibly would fall.

That it didn’t is most likely due to the methodological differences of both measurements, and reminds everyone that we should in this period of great turmoil treat monthly and weekly data with care.

But even when we look at just employment, it is clear that things still have a long way to go before we are fully recovered.

The amount of hours worked on average by all adults remains at levels last seen during the depths of the 1990s recession:

Graph not appearing? View here

Overall hours worked remained weak – boosted only by Victoria easing its restrictions. The growth of hours worked in Victoria increased by 5.6%, in the rest of the country it fell 0.2%.

And this weakness reflects that this recession has seen a big shift from full-time to part-time work.

Excluding Victoria there is now more part-time employment than there was in March, but full-time employment is down nearly 3%:

Graph not appearing? View here

The boost of jobs in October was not only mostly due to Victoria but it was also not evenly spread across gender and ages. While men under 35 make-up just on 20% of all employed, they accounted for 41% of all new employment in October:

Graph not appearing? View here

That does suggest the government’s hiring credit for workers under 35 has had an instant impact, but oddly it is not working for women under 35.

But to show just how deep a hole we remain in, it is worth revisiting the underutilisation measure of recessions.

This compares the average underutilisation rate (which include unemployment and underemployment) of the past three months with the lowest rate of the past year. If the difference is above 1.5% points that is a strong indicator we are in a recession.

Right now for men the difference is at 5.3 and for women it is at 3.8 – the worst ever recorded for both genders:

Graph not appearing? View here

The good thing about this measure of recession (which is adapted from US economist Cluadia Sahm’s unemployment recession indicator) is it allows us to compare across states to see which areas are struggling the most, and because it considers past performance it adjusts for those states that might as a rule have higher or lower underutilisation than others:

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It shows that Western Australia was in recessionary territory for much of 2017 and 2018, but is now the state closest to recovering. Similarly South Australia entered the crisis after experiencing recession conditions during 2019, but is now recovering better than Queensland and New South Wales.

This measure also allows us to look at the impact across ages and genders:

Graph not appearing? View here

It reveals how tough it was for young men last year to get work, but also that both young and older women workers were the first to suffer the impact of the virus.

When we compare the recession measures in February, July (the low point) and in October, we see that men aged 25-34 are the ones hardest hit relative to their previous experience:

Graph not appearing? View here

But while those men remain the worst hit, the plight of men aged 45-54 is next in line – showing that this is definitely not just about youth.

Overall the best recovered are women aged 35 to 54. However, even their situation is not as great as it may seem. The recession indictor for women aged 35-44 is currently at 2.7; the worst it reached during the GFC was 2.5.

All states, ages and genders are very much experiencing a recession, and about the best you can say is that those who are recovering most strongly are still in a worse position than they were during the GFC.

The October employment figures were a pleasant surprise, but there are still more than a quarter of a million more people unemployed than there were in February and 357,000 fewer people working full-time.

We have a long way to go and both federal and state governments and the Reserve Bank will need to continue to respond accordingly.

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Adam Treloar trade raises questions over Collingwood’s approach to his family issues, says employment lawyer

An employment lawyer says Collingwood’s concerns that Adam Treloar’s family circumstances might have impacted his ability to play football are unfair and potentially discriminatory.

Treloar was one of four Magpies players forced to find new clubs on a frenetic final day of the AFL’s trade period last week, as Collingwood tried to release pressure on its salary cap.

Despite having five years remaining on his contract, there had been intense speculation about Treloar’s future, after his partner Kim Ravaillion announced she was moving to Queensland with their infant daughter to continue her Super Netball career.

Ravaillion is rejoining the Queensland Firebirds — where she won two premierships prior to the start of Super Netball — in 2021 after three seasons with Collingwood.

Magpies coach Nathan Buckley told SEN radio on Monday that Treloar’s family situation was “a catalyst in some shape or form” for the club’s decision to considering trading the midfielder to another club.

Buckley said there was no way Treloar’s split from Collingwood could have been done “without trauma or pain”.

Giri Sivaraman, an employment lawyer at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, said Collingwood’s approach was not fair to Treloar.

“I’m very surprised,” he told the ABC.

“Effectively what he seems to be saying is: ‘We can’t keep you here because you might at some point have to support your wife, and or your child, and we can’t accommodate that.’

“Firstly, I wonder if that’s discrimination on the basis of carer responsibilities, and secondly, I think it’s just asking too much of someone. Whether it’s discriminatory or not, it certainly seems unfair.”

Mr Sivaraman said every employer had an obligation to accommodate carer responsibilities, and Collingwood’s approach would not be appropriate in any other workplace.

“There’s not even been an attempt to accommodate it here,” he said.

“They’ve just made the assumption that because his partner is moving interstate — just for the netball season I assume — that that’s just something they can’t accommodate.

“It’s like saying to someone who’s pregnant: ‘Well, even though you’ve said to me when you come back to work that you’ll be able to manage your job and care responsibilities, I just think you won’t be able to, therefore I’m not going to have a job for you when you come back.’

“Many women I’ve represented have been in that position and I’ve always said it’s unlawful.”

Nathan Buckley (left) signed off on Adam Treloar’s departure from the Magpies last week.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

Buckley said it was Collingwood’s responsibility to work out how Treloar’s family situation would affect his job.

“We are within our rights to have an assessment of that given our knowledge of Adam and the experiences we’ve shared since he came to the club,” Buckley said, alluding to Treloar’s history of anxiety.

Mr Sivaraman said under workplace law employers also had an obligation to attempt to accommodate an employees’ mental or physical impairments.

“[Collingwood] has taken a different approach and decided, well it’s just not going to work and we don’t want what they perceive as a liability,” he said.

“I just think that’s disappointing.”

Mr Sivaraman said the management of Treloar and his family exemplifies how AFL clubs demanded a player’s “mind, body and soul”.

He said that ran counter to the general treatment expected from employers in 2020.

“What this year has shown us is that things that weren’t thought possible certainly are,” he said.

“The number of flexible work arrangements has stratospherically increased.”

Pies players treated ‘too good’: McGuire

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire rejected criticism the club had mistreated players it had traded.

“If there’s a criticism of what Collingwood did with its players in recent times it’s that they’ve looked after players too good as far as the salary cap was concerned,” McGuire told Triple M’s Hot Breakfast radio program.

“And the players have been sensational back-ending their contracts to make it happen because there was a window of opportunity [for a flag].”

McGuire suggested the fallout over the Magpies’ trading period was a media beat-up.

“It’s a big story because the other stories have been done to death for 10 days and Collingwood didn’t do a whole lot on (AFL) Trade Radio and things like that,” he said.

“The media always like to come after people who aren’t racing to be on those types of things.

“Nuance is everything. We could’ve gone on with the salary cap, so it wasn’t as if it was a fire sale. We changed, we pivoted and we’re looking ahead.”

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CQUni in top 5 QLD universities for graduate employment

GRADUATES from regional universities are more likely to land a job than those from prestigious “sandstone” institutions.

CQUniversity ranked fourth among Queensland’s 10 universities with 73 per cent of graduates finding work within four months of finishing their degree, exclusive new data obtained by News Corp Australia reveals.

It also came in 11th place nationally with better graduate employment outcomes compared to 32 other Australian universities.

CQUniversity Mackay graduate Melissa Parter landed the first job she applied for during her final week of studying a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours).

Melissa Parter and her two children, Rikki Parter and Ruby Parter, on the day she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) from CQUniversity. Picture: Contributed

The single mother of two said her degree “definitely” prepared her to join Queensland Health’s Division of Mental Health and would allow her to keep achieving career goals.

“I come from a meat industry and labourer background – that has typically been my history of employment; and logistics, so freight, truck driving and supervisor roles,” the mental health clinician and social worker said.

“When I had my second child … that was the turning point of when I decided to study and really focus on my passion on wanting to be a social worker.”

Melissa Parter on the day she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) from CQUniversity. Picture: Contributed

Melissa Parter on the day she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) from CQUniversity. Picture: Contributed

Ms Parter, who identifies as Aboriginal and Australian South Sea Islander, said she chose CQUniversity because they were local, had a good program and offered cultural support and one-on-one tutoring.

“That was something that really did motivate me and supported me to complete my studies.”

CQUniversity Mackay graduate Melissa Parter now works as a mental health clinician and social worker with Queensland Health's mental health division. Picture: Heidi Petith

CQUniversity Mackay graduate Melissa Parter now works as a mental health clinician and social worker with Queensland Health’s mental health division. Picture: Heidi Petith

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CQUniversity vice-chancellor and president Professor Nick Klomp said they prided themselves on “excellent” graduate outcomes.

“We change lives by creating highly employable graduates with the skills, experience and expertise to take on the roles of the future,” Professor Klomp said.

“We are also delivering courses that directly meet skill demands, particularly in regional Australia (like) allied health, engineering (and) education.

“It is also very pleasing to see so many regional universities ranking highly, which again proves that you don’t need to move out of the regions to gain a quality education and subsequent employment.”

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Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said COVID-19 had majorly impacted graduate employment in 2020 with the government spending $550 million to fund up to 30,000 extra university places next year as well as short courses so AUstralians could upskill.

The Education Department commissioned survey revealed graduates from regional universities had fared better during the downturn, in part due to them likely being older, having completed vocational degrees, and because of their “continuing connection with the labour market”.

Fellow regional university James Cook University, which also has a campus in Mackay, also fared well for graduate employment outcomes, coming in at second place for the state and sixth nationally.

Almost 76 per cent of JCU graduates found employment within four months of finishing their degrees.

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