The Hon Steve Herbert MP - travel report - Mexico and Chile, October 2016

Minister The Hon. Steve Herbert, MP
Portfolio Minister for Corrections
Minister for International Education
Minister for Training and Skills
Countries visited Mexico and Chile
Date of travel 14 – 22 October 2016
No. of official travel days 9
Accompanying ministerial staff 1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency) Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares $37,738.48*
Accommodation $5,458.44*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $3,494.48*
Travel cost for minister and staff $46,691.40*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

My travel to Mexico and Chile supported the international education sector which has been identified as one of six priority industry sectors in Victoria's Future Industries initiative.

The main purpose of the travel was to support the vocational education and training (VET) and higher education sector's existing and prospective opportunities in-market, and also explore opportunities generated through recent Latin American inbound delegations.

My visit built on key Victorian Government initiatives including: the Melbourne-Latin America Education Symposium (March 2014); the Victorian Government's Education Mission to Latin America (April 2015); Australian Awards Fellowship Program (September 2015); and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Leadership and Capacity Building Program (March 2016).

The visit also strengthened government-to-government and institution-to-government linkages and boosted Victoria's education profile and reputation in Mexico and Chile.

Key elements of my program included:

  • Attending high level national and state government meetings to discuss and promote opportunities for research, education and training partnerships
  • Hosting roundtable meetings with education agents, in both Chile and Mexico, to promote Melbourne and Victoria as a study destination
  • Addressing a networking event at the Ambassador's residence in Mexico City
  • Participating in a campus visit to the Biotechnology Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Morelos
  • Meeting with participants of the Australian Awards Fellowship program held in Melbourne in 2015 to discuss their follow up activities and partnerships with Victorian universities
  • Attending a reception event at the Ambassador's residence celebrating the announcement of the opening of the Victorian Government Business Office (VGBO) in Santiago
  • Meeting with VET scholarship body Tecnicos Para Chile, and Victorian alumni of the program
  • Visiting the technical institute Duoc UC in Chile to discuss partnership opportunities 
  • Signing a letter of intent between the State of Victoria and the Ministry of Education, Chile to cooperate in matters related to Chile's Tertiary Education Reforms, in particular the creation of new public technical education institutes

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

International education is Victoria's largest services export and contributes $5.8 billion to the economy.

As part of the International Education Sector Strategy, Latin America has been identified as a priority growth market for Victoria.

Over the last five years, student numbers from the Latin America region have more than doubled, increasing from around 5,000 student enrolments in 2011 to over 10,000 in 2015. This includes a 70 per cent increase for both Chile and Mexico.

Since 2014, the Victorian Government has been driving a long-term Latin American market engagement plan, with a focus on those countries with the greatest growth potential for the State's international education sector. 


In Mexico, I hosted a roundtable meeting with education agents and gave an overview of study in Victoria and the support provided to international students and education agents. This meeting provided me with up-to-date information about how the Victorian Government can engage proactively with education agents. It helped boost the Study Melbourne brand and gave education agents better information to promote Victoria.

I attended a country briefing given by the Ambassador to Mexico. This meeting gave me a snapshot of Australian education providers' activity and an overview of possible education opportunities in Mexico. The Ambassador also hosted a reception at his residence, where I provided an address and networked with stakeholders from government, education and industry associations.

My meeting with Mexico's Secretariat of Public Education discussed possible mobility programs and other areas of co-operation between Mexican technological universities and dual sector universities in Victoria and was a leverage to begin to build the Victoria-Mexico relationship. There are many similarities between our institutions which should enable us to make a strong connection.

My meeting with CONOCER (Consejo Nacional De Normalización Y Certificación De Competencias Laborales, México) discussed potential opportunities in vocational education and programs to certify skills, with a focus on Victoria's industry strengths. There was discussion of a potential tripartite pilot project between Mexican, Chilean and Victorian providers in the tourism/wine sectors.

I travelled to Cuernavaca in the State of Morelos to re-connect with the Secretary of Innovation, Science & Technology, who has visited Melbourne, and a number of researchers who participated in the Australian Awards Fellowship Research Program held in Melbourne in September 2015. I also participated in a site visit to the Biotechnology Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Morelos campus, to discuss possible collaborative opportunities for Victorian universities. 


In Santiago, I attended a meeting with the Ambassador to Chile who provided me with a country overview and advice on Victoria's approach to engaging with Chile.

I met with Fundación Chile, an organisation that has worked successfully to foster Chilean business and industry growth through technological innovation and implementation. At this meeting, I discussed a potential pilot project for Victorian TAFE institutes. Fundación Chile participated in the delegation that visited Melbourne earlier this year and also in the Melbourne-Latin America Education Symposium in March 2014. The meeting reinforced and built on this relationship.

I visited Duoc UC, an accredited, non-profit private college in Chile, founded under the umbrella of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 1968. This site visit gave me an opportunity to observe firsthand how Duoc UC delivers technical and professional degrees and also to discuss potential collaborative opportunities for Victorian vocational education providers.

An important component of my travel program was attending a reception at the Ambassador's residence for the opening of the Victorian Government Business Office (VGBO) in Santiago. Representatives of Victorian education institutes and alumni were invited to this event, as well as government and business representatives. This event provided me with invaluable networking opportunities.

Chilean stakeholders that I met during my travel consistently remarked that the VGBO opening will be of significant benefit to the Victoria – Chile relationship.

I attended a meeting with Ms Valentina Quiroga, Vice Minister for Education, Chile as a follow-up from her visit to Melbourne in May 2016, when she led the Chilean Technical Education delegation. During our meeting, we discussed cooperation between Victorian and Chilean education institutions, particularly in the development of Chile's new Centres of Technical Training (CFTs) and I signed a Letter of Intent to formalise this partnership.

I met with Tecnicos Para Chile (TpC), an agency of the Ministry of Education providing VET scholarships for Chileans to study abroad. Victoria's relationship with TpC is very important as it facilitates students coming to study at Victorian TAFEs. In addition I had the opportunity to meet with three alumni of the TpC scholarship program who talked about how their Victorian qualification has opened doors for them in their chosen careers.

My program in Chile concluded with a roundtable meeting with education agents to discuss issues for Chilean students studying abroad, key decision making factors and other activities.
I gave a short presentation to agents regarding Victoria's point of difference and initiatives for international students. The Study Melbourne online resource for education agents, My Story, was demonstrated at the meeting. The education agents found resource to be very useful for promoting study in Victoria.

Next steps / Follow up

As described above, a number of opportunities have been identified and these will be followed up by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources through appropriate contacts in International Education, Trade Victoria and the Victorian Government's Education Services Manager based in Colombia.

Page last updated: 10 February 2017