By Alena Mae S. Flores – manilastandardtoday.com
Filipino nurses now have a bigger chance to work in Australia, with the help of the Australian Center for Further Education headed by educator Raul Hernandez, a former honorary consul general of the Philippines to Victoria, the most densely populated state in the island continent.
Hernandez is the chief executive of ACEF, which was established to offer high-quality education in the nursing and healthcare sector in Australia.
Hernandez, a Journalism graduate from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, helps Filipino and other foreign nurses obtain Australian qualification, enabling them to get jobs in the advanced country’s healthcare industry.
“Our school started only with the nurses. The main purpose of the school is to bridge the gap between our nurses and Australia’s license,” he says in an interview.
Like professionals from other countries, Filipino nurses have to be registered and accredited, before they can be eligible for employment in Australia, he says.
Hernandez says to get into the ACEF study program, the nurses should have a minimum of two-year experience for better employment prospects in Australia.
He says ACEF was initially designed to cater to Filipino nurses, but it has recently opened its doors to other nationalities, such as those from India, Korea and Africa.
ACEF also plans to introduce vocational level accredited program such as age care and disability care for those with medical background. It aims to open the program by June, as a part of a medium-term plan to be a higher education provider after 2016.
Hernandez says running the school is not an easy task especially when it was just starting. The school was opened by Peter Funtusoff, but when he passed away unexpectedly, Hernandez says he had to come in and take charge of the school.
At that time, Hernandez was the honorary consul general of the Philippines to Victoria. He decided to take over the helm of ACEF in June 2010.
There was also a change in the Philippine government’s administration in 2010 and Hernandez felt he needed to move on from his diplomatic post.
The school was facing financial difficulties that time, due to its inability to get more students, as it had “few clinical placements” with Australian hospitals.
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