Making the case for change.

Professionals Australia has just released its submission to the Victorian Review of Language Services, outlining our case for change in the sector set to make its final recommendations to government in December 2016.

Read the submission here

Improving language services

Central to achieving improvement in the provision of quality language services is:

I. An engaged professional workforce which is continually developed
II. Fair wages and conditions which encourage talented people to invest in their education and to enter and remain in the workforce
III. Employers that support skills development and facilitate continuing professional development
IV. Effective allocation of labour to match practitioners to jobs, based on objective recognition of competence as defined by credential, qualification, or both
V. Safe working conditions
VI. Fair and consultative engagement
VII. A system and a language service provider that will ensure all above

Addressing market failure

There is ample evidence of market failure across the sector, which needs to be addressed to improve the delivery and quality of language services in Victoria. Current conditions have created a market which does not effectively or efficiently service the needs of any stakeholder.

1. There are few incentives for language service providers to:

• allocate labour effectively to match practitioners to jobs, or
• provide and support workforce skills development

2. Low barriers to market entry mean that there is little incentive for providers (labour hire firms) to invest in the workforce

3. Tendering processes focus on driving costs down rather than on the quality of services

4. Workforce demographics and wage rates are not sustainable. Current remuneration levels provide little encouragement for skilled practitioners to enter or remain in the sector

5. The practitioners themselves are part of a labour market which does not incentivise high-quality service or educational standards, nor individual career aspiration or entrepreneurial spirit. Wages, conditions, quality and efficiency are each compromised.

6. Government is exposed to the risk of litigation and government departments who rely on language services will see the cost of delivering the primary service increase alongside a reduction in quality, reliability and access to language services.

Finding a solution

Professionals Australia believes that essential language services for Victorian government clients and organisations can be delivered more effectively through a single central language service provider.
The model requires a single central language service provider to:

• meet KPIs to maintain service quality and value for money
• invest in procedures and systems to match practitioners to jobs
• subsidise training leading to qualification and specialisation and provide or facilitate continuing professional development.

The delivery of essential language services via a single central language service provider would restore stability to a currently fractured market, and establish Victoria as an Australian centre of language service excellence.

Read our submission here.