Australia’s first comprehensive food delivery training program for international students has been launched thanks to Swinburne University of Technology and consortium members Fit2Drive Foundation, D’Accord Occupational Assistance Services, JobWatch employment legal rights centre, supported by Study Melbourne.
The free program is designed to increase the safety and wellbeing of international students who choose to participate in the gig-economy through food delivery work.
Program initiator, Swinburne Associate Director, International Student Advisory and Support, Desma Smith said many international students opt to work in the growing food delivery service industry as a flexible option while studying; but challenges in understanding local road laws, employee rights and employer responsibilities can place them at risk.
“A recent Swinburne survey found more than 70 per cent of international student food delivery workers in Victoria wanted help to understand the local road rules and help them feel safe,” Ms Smith said.
“The recent tragedy of an international student in Sydney, who died after being hit by a car as he delivered an order, is one of several incidents in recent months. This emphasises the critical need for increased training and support.
“Driver safety issues have increased over the years, with research indicating a gap in the training provided specifically for international workers.
“Through the research phase of this project, we found that while students are happy to take on food delivery work when they arrive in Australia to subsidise their living costs, they’re unfamiliar with the local road conditions – particularly in Melbourne with the tram tracks. This has led to injuries from broken wrists to a student who sadly lost their leg due to a road accident.
“The work universities do to support the welfare, wellbeing and safety of international students shows students can be at risk of injury in this workplace. Road use is the tip of the iceberg,” Ms Smith said.
Delivering a balanced training approach
Through consultation WorkSafe, Victoria Police, Transport Accident Commission (TAC), VicRoads, Study Melbourne and Young Workers Centre, it was found that while some delivery companies do provide training materials to their workers, there is a significant gap in materials specific to the international worker audience.
Fit2Drive CEO Georgia Symmons was surprised by the breadth of information needed to support students, and says it makes sense that universities offer and promote a program such as this.
“Road licensing, testing and laws together with workplace laws and expectations are complex and confusing for anyone; let alone for a newly arrived person who decides to be a delivery driver and relies on it to make a living,” Ms Symmons said.
“Each of the partners involved has brought their expertise to the program and ultimately to international university students in road safety and use, personal safety, workplace rights and responsibilities and student wellbeing.
“We know from our other programs and research the value and effectiveness of this approach,” Ms Symmons said.
The Food Delivery Work – a guide for international students program, including four podcasts, is available for free to education providers to use for their students via Study Melbourne.
For further information or to request materials contact Swinburne International Student Advisory and Support on firstname.lastname@example.org .