Australia Awards in Africa Alumni study shows ‘soft skills’ learned in Australia benefit development careers
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s 2015 Australia Awards in Africa Outcomes Study has found that 98% of respondents attributed their development contributions to the ‘soft skills’ they gained on-Award, such as project management, change management and public speaking.
The annual study aims to measure and assess program results by identifying the development contributions made by Australia Awards in Africa Alumni in the program’s priority countries.
It targeted Alumni from the 22 priority countries for Australia Awards in Africa in two groups, either 12-18 months or 24-30 months after they had completed their studies. A total of 133 Alumni responded to the survey from both cohorts, and 39% were women. The results show that pursuing the development of Africa’s professionals through higher education is making an impact.
With more than 5,500 Alumni of Australian Government-funded scholarships in Africa, Australia Awards has established an influential network of leaders, reformers and development advocates across Africa. The Alumni network provides ample opportunity for continued capacity and relationship building through tailored professional development opportunities and creating the space and platform for Australia-Africa engagement across sectors.
Almost a third of the Alumni surveyed were leading a development initiative, and the rest were making active contributions to development projects. Alumni highlighted by the study for their development work included Godfrey Musonda, who established a large scale forest nursery to progress afforestation and reforestation in Zambia which created jobs for 652 people; and Gertrude Sililo, who trained 30 officers at Namibia’s Rundu Vocational Training Centre to become more effective technical and vocational education (TVET) teachers.
The recently released Study also found that nearly half of all respondents had received a work promotion on their return home, and 95% of respondents had paid jobs at the time of the survey.
Australia Awards has entered a new program phase that will focus on increasing professional development opportunities for Alumni, and strengthening links between Australian and African professionals and institutions.
The Australian Government will continue to place a premium on further developing Alumni professional skills and capacity, including those Alumni who have participated in other Australian government funded programs and who have self-funded their studies.
Further information on the government’s new Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy is available here. Read more news about Australia Awards Alumni in Africa on the Australia Awards Africa website.