Investigating the use of IELTS in determining employment, migration and professional registration outcomes in healthcare and early childcare education in Australia

Focusing on two professional fields that are critical to Australia’s future – health and early childhood education – the study provides key insights into the many challenges facing overseas-trained professionals and international graduates transitioning into the Australian labour market.

The study highlights the complex language requirements in the professions of medicine, nursing and early childhood education and explores the implications for stakeholders. Employers require graduates to have high-level English language skills, and universities are increasingly expected to ensure international students graduate with the required English language proficiency.

The study also reveals highly differentiated labour markets. While metropolitan hospitals are turning away both domestic and international graduates, some rural hospitals are predominantly staffed by international doctors and nurses. Early childhood education also faces skill shortages in rural areas and some areas are struggling with how to stem the flow of graduates into the primary sector.

Finally, the study highlights the many challenges facing overseas-trained/international graduates transitioning into the labour market. For participants in this study, the challenges of working in their profession in Australia are many and varied. These challenges include workplace discrimination, isolation and extreme frustration when unable to work in their area of qualification.