Launching a new safety project: Start smart to settle well

Ms Desma Smith1,2,3,4

1Jobwatch, Melbourne, Australia, 2Fit2Drive, Melbourne, Australia, 3D’Accord, Melbourne, Australia, 4International Student Advisory & Support, SUT, Hawthorn, Australia

A concern for critical incident responses to serious road injuries of international students undertaking delivery driver work in Victoria led to a meeting of minds with the Fit2Drive network and then development of a consortium of interested parties including the Fit2Drive Foundation, Swinburne University, D’Accord P/L and Jobwatch Inc. to contribute to the development of education materials, workshops, and training in particular for international students who use Victoria’s roads in the act of many part-time work opportunities. Information gleaned from gig employers, road safety governing bodies, emergency services and directly from students was utilised to develop the material content.

The enthusiasm of newly arriving international students and the continuing necessity of students to supplement their expenses in the Australian economy, along with the fast-growing gig economy of quick to access, seemingly cheap and simple world of delivery driving has attracted international students.

This project aims to educate new arrivals into the country/vulnerable cohorts on work rights; road safety; business and legal rights and responsibilities, to avoid the development of an underclass in this fast growing and transitioning business area.

A presentation of an educational training program for international students on driver delivery work rights, road safety, business and legal rights and responsibilities. An underpinning aim of the training program is to enhance road safety knowledge; to reduce personal injury; enhance occupational health & safety knowledge; and offset the pitfalls identified by the consortia members and by students themselves when surveyed, including reporting and business keeping obligations.

With over 20 years in International Education working at Canadian High Commission; DIAC student policy; global mobility; student support; I’ve facilitated workshops and written submissions for ISANA; Government roundtables; consultative stages of policy development; created policies in HEd; had various consultant roles and tutored critical incident management.
Currently as AD, International Student Advisory & Support at Swinburne my team of 10 actively and passionately support staff and international students.
I’ve been a SME (Subject Matter Expert) on award winning teams managing risk and safe communities and a member of Swinburne’s Incident Management Team. I offset work tensions as an obsessed dragon boat racer and successfully competed internationally in the Australian Auroras DBS over 7 years.

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