New Colombo Plan funding empowers students to make contribution toward regional engagement

New Colombo Plan funding empowers students to make contribution toward regional engagement

Dozens of undergraduate students will have the opportunity to undertake study in Asian countries next year with the help of funding through the Government’s New Colombo Plan.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings (left) with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Georgie Brown and Harrison Hall at a formal New Colombo Plan scholars gathering in December 2014.

For 2015, UOW has secured a total of $322,300 to support students participating in overseas study trips to Asia (mobility grants), as well as three scholarships - each valued at $67,000 - through the New Colombo Plan scheme.

The funding is part of a strategic plan of the Australian Government to lift the knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia and strengthen institutional relationships through study. When announcing the 2015 grants, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said around 3,150 undergraduate students would be supported by the New Colombo Plan (NCP) mobility round for 2015.

“The continued strong interest of students in gaining first-hand experience of business in the region will ensure they are well placed to make a valuable contribution to the regional engagement of our business community and to driving economic growth in Australia and our region in the years ahead,” Minister Bishop said.

Funding awarded to UOW as part of the NCP mobility round will allow students to participate in a wide range of projects in various countries, including: clinical placements for students from the Graduate School of Medicine, Faculty of Science Medicine and Health, in Samoa; work experience placements for business students with the 40K Foundation; an international teaching experience in Thailand for Social Sciences students; and a study abroad experience for Engineering and Information Sciences (EIS) and Faculty of Business students at INTI, in Subang Jaya, Malaysia.

Two groups from EIS will be travelling to China, one for a mining engineering study tour and another for a project titled Enhancement of Education and Research in Accelerator and Radiation Physics Sciences.

The NCP funds will also support a multidisciplinary group with students from every faculty contribute various skills to the SMART Infrastructure Facility’s project in Jakarta, Indonesia.

NCP will also allow students to study on exchange for a semester in Hong Kong at one of UOW’s partner universities.

UOW was also successful in securing three of the 69 national NCP scholarships awarded across Australia, offering recipients up to $67,000 toward an international study experience.

Asher Taccori, a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics student, will use his scholarship to study in Fiji and Hong Kong. He will also be participating in a one month mentorship in Kiribati. Georgia Brown, a Dean’s Scholar and Bachelor of Arts student, said she will undertake study in Japan at Sophia University. Harrison Hall, a Bachelor of Commerce student and also a Dean’s Scholar, plans to undertake study at Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia.

During a formal dinner hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Canberra in early December, Asher and Harrison were also recognised as NCP Fellows, a title given to the top-ranked candidate for each location within the Indo-Pacific, of which there are just 17.

The government has committed $100 million in new funding over five years to implement the New Colombo Plan. In 2014, the New Colombo Plan supported 40 scholars and more than 1,300 mobility students to live, study and undertake a work placement in the four pilot locations of Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore.

Fifteen were among the first group of Australian students to visit the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) in May 2014. , a second year Early Childhood Teaching student and a third year Civil Engineering student were awarded the prestigious New Colombo Plan (NCP) scholarships.