Rafael Beni is the first to admit that he didn't have a clear career goal prior to undertaking his Australia Awards scholarship. "Before coming to Australia I was unsure of my direction because in Timor-Leste, we mostly work just to feed our family," he says. But what Rafael lacked in direction he made up for in extensive experience spanning industries, including seven years with DHL Express, a stint with the United States Embassy, and most recently in the oil and gas industry.Rafael's indecision also proved a valuable opportunity to explore various interests, and gain exposure to the different streams within his Bachelor of Business degree at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in Melbourne, Victoria.However, by the second year into his degree, Rafael had found his niche, going on to major in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. “When I started, I hadn’t really thought about the procurement side of business but when I studied procurement and global sourcing, I immediately started thinking that it was exactly where I wanted to focus my career," he says.
Now filled with a sense of purpose, Rafael is taking full advantage of the many opportunities his scholarship affords him so that he is better able to contribute to Timor-Leste's development upon completion of his degree.
“Though our focus in Australia is study, I’ve also taken on part time work so I can learn firsthand how things work within a western context, which I can then take back to apply in Timor.” Rafael is currently working for Community Housing Ltd - a company that delivers affordable housing both locally and internationally. As the Continuous Improvement Officer, Rafael is tasked with developing the organisation’s international offices across India, Chile, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste. Rafael also moonlights as a liaison officer between the company’s head office, where he is based, and the Timor-Leste office.
Rafael says his job with Community Housing Ltd has not only allowed him to grow as a professional, it has also helped him to become a better student. “Before I started working there I didn’t really know how to manage my time, or think about what I should do a week or a month from now but since working I’ve learned valuable new skills such as time management, report writing, and how to communicate effectively to solve problems.”
With hundreds of hours of Australian experience under his belt, Rafael is setting his sights on a leadership position to ensure that he is able to implement the changes he would like to see in his country.
“Our government wants to promote consumption of local products but without proper logistics and supply chain support consumers will continue to rely on imported products,” he says.
“It’s hard for us to effect change if you don’t have power in an organisation so I’m aiming to be ready for a position where my ideas can be used to create and implement change.”