Studying in Sydney and New South Wales, Australia — Q&A with Peter Mackey

Want to study in Australia? Learn why you should consider Sydney and New South Wales in this Q&A with Peter Mackey, Director of Trade, International Education and Small Business, NSW Government.

Why study in Sydney and New South Wales (NSW)?

Located on the east coast of Australia, New South Wales (NSW) is the ultimate place to learn, live and work. From the buzz and glamour of Sydney, our harbourside capital, to the diversity and natural beauty of our regions, NSW offers a prosperous and welcoming environment where students can be their best.

Australia’s economic powerhouse and start-up capital, Sydney and NSW, boast innovation, cultural diversity and a jobs market unmatched in the rest of the country. The state is also a cultural and creative hub, with world-renowned festivals, arts events and more running throughout the year.

Most importantly, NSW is home to a range of world-class universities, a thriving vocational education and training sector, leading private education and training providers, and specialist English language colleges. We enjoy a strong global reputation for internationally respected qualifications and high-quality teaching and research.

In 2018, Sydney was voted one of the top 10 cities for international students, in the QS Best Students Cities rankings. Our population is welcoming and multicultural, with 30% of Sydney residents born overseas.

What support exists for international students in Sydney and NSW?

Study NSW is a team within the NSW Government that is dedicated to supporting international students studying in NSW. Our core function is to improve the experience of international students.

Study NSW works to advance the international student experience through various programs. These support international students by addressing areas such as wellbeing, mental health, physical health, work placements, work integrated learning and community engagement.

Some of our flagship programs include the:

  • International Student Welcome Desk at Sydney Airport to greet and support students on arrival;
  • NSW International Student Awards which recognise the contributions students make to our communities;
  • NSW International Student Business Charter which showcases the diversity of employment and work experience opportunities for international students in NSW and the contribution that international students make to the workplace; and
  • Partner Project grant scheme which delivers co-funded public-private initiatives to support the international education sector.

How does Study NSW connect with the international education sector?

Study NSW collaborates with organisations in the education sector in NSW to advance the interests of international students. Some of our partnerships include:

  • the City of Sydney with which we deliver the Lord Mayor’s Welcome for International Students;
  • Surf Life Saving NSW with which we deliver the Beach Safety Advisor Program; and
  • the Redfern Legal Centre through which we deliver the free International Student Legal Service NSW.

Study NSW has helped make NSW Australia’s most popular study destination, attracting 264,000 international students in 2018. Study NSW has already helped 4,500 international students with employability programs, assisted 6,000 international students through the International Student Welcome Desk, and supported 2,000 international students through the International Student Legal Service NSW.

We have also co-funded 37 Partner Projects with industry, with $1.4 million in funding attracting $5.4 million in industry contributions.

Why are Australia-Vietnam relations important to NSW?

The NSW Government is committed to building on the Strategic Partnership between Australia and Vietnam agreed in 2018. The NSW Government, for example, released its ASEAN Strategy in 2018 outlining the important trade, investment, cultural and diplomatic links with Vietnam and its work to strengthen the bilateral relationship. The then-NSW Minister for Trade and Industry, the Hon. Niall Blair MLC, also visited Vietnam last year.

Vietnam is NSW’s seventh largest source market for international education, with 8,305 students located around our state in 2018. Vietnamese students form an integral part of our community, with many making significant contributions as exemplified by our 2018 NSW International Student of the Year winner in the schools category, Duy Quang Mai. Study NSW aims to support our Vietnamese students, nurturing a strong alumni network to develop future global leaders that will shape government and industry agendas across the region.

More recently, the NSW Government welcomed Nguyễn Thành Phong, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, to Sydney in April this year. During his visit, the Chairman executed a Memorandum of Understanding between NSW and Ho Chi Minh City to strengthen cooperation in key areas, such as education and training.

What is the NSW Government’s current international engagement with Vietnam?  

Vietnam’s rapid economic growth and NSW’s own strong economy present a range of bilateral commercial opportunities. The NSW Government has designated Vietnam a priority trade and investment market and established a sister state relationship with Ho Chi Minh City. NSW-Vietnam cooperation is centred around in the following key sectors: 

  • Education and training—to support skill development and promote NSW as an ideal study destination
  • Resources and energy
  • Agriculture and food—to assist industry collaboration in food security, agriculture technology, and promote bilateral trade in food and beverages 
  • Start-ups and SMEs—to exchange experience and skills, share best practices and build networks  
  • Investment
  • Science and technology
  • Tourism.

The NSW Government, through Study NSW and other agencies, will continue to build on this cooperation to reinforce our bilateral ties.

About Peter Mackey – Director, Trade, International Education and Small Business, NSW Government

Peter Mackey joined the NSW Government in October 2014 after seven years with Austrade.

Peter was posted as Trade Commissioner to Hanoi in 2010 and then Singapore. During this time he also held a regional role, as Education Commissioner, ASEAN, leading Austrade’s regional education team across South East Asia.

Over the past 20 years, Peter has worked primarily in the education and training, ICT and government sectors.

In his current role Peter oversees the StudyNSW team as well as the Export team based in Sydney and the broader Tradestart network of advisers around regional NSW. Peter’s broader area of responsibility also includes the Small Business Operations team that delivers the Business Connect program across NSW to new and aspiring small businesses.