In July 2021, in collaboration with Study NSW, Australia Awards organised a three-week enrichment program for scholars. The interactive program brought Australia Awards scholars from around the globe together to research and respond to real business problems in NSW government agencies. The program provided scholars with practical professional experiences in the NSW public sector and fostered links with the New South Wales (NSW) Government.
Fiji alumnus, Ralph Buadromo, participated in the program and was teamed with Australia Awards scholars from Vietnam, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea. Their group was given a business challenge related to the NSW government-funded Foodbank. Their task was to identify effective ways to better advocate the Foodbank Initiative among International students.
To meet their objectives, the team regularly met with their NSW Government Client to better understand the project needs. They were mentored by an industry expert and consulted with a wide range of stakeholders to gather intelligence and determine recommendations. The consultation process allowed them to expand their professional networks and understanding.
After three weeks of planning, research, consultation and teamwork, Ralph’s team presented their findings and recommendations to key NSW government and the Foodbank Initiative stakeholders.
When asked what he learnt from the program, Ralph shared:
- Learning a different approach to organising and tackling projects, in this case learning how the Government of NSW tackles projects and seeing how that can be translated in my current workplace.
- The importance of consultation with various stakeholders and getting constructive feedback before you proceed with a project.
- There were essential life skills that we gained during the program, mainly soft skills in terms of:
- Managing people and a project with limited resources and time. Three weeks to find a solution and present to clients while juggling work and family from home
- Understanding different learning styles/preferences and being culturally conscious when working in teams from various backgrounds
- Communicating clearly/effectively and being a team player
- At my current workplace, I explore effective mediums and technology mainly using electronic portfolios to tackle workplace internships and practicum-based courses. The platform we used for our project gave me wider scope in how to organise my instructional materials and lessons for our electronic portfolio platform at Fiji National University.
When asked what the highlight of this opportunity was, Ralph stated “presenting our ideas and related solutions to our client, Study NSW, and knowing that our ideas got positive feedback and were forwarded for action”.
He also shared that “participating in such a program provides you the platform to network with other Australia Awards scholars from around the world and maintain your relationship with Australian clients.”
Through this initiative, Australia Awards expanded the scholarship experience beyond tertiary education to practical professional development in the NSW state government, while creating lasting networks and linkages.