Returning to Timor-Leste after graduating brings some unique challenges, which is why giving special attention to managing the reintegration process is such an important part of the Australia Awards Scholarship Program.
Effective planning for successful reintegration helps newly graduated returnees to join, or re-join, the workforce and put into practice knowledge and skills learnt in Australia, whilst supporting them to become effective and professional alumni in the workplace and community. The Scholarships and Alumni Support (SAS) team keep a database of all alumni and regularly update it with the status of employment of each alumnus.
The Reintegration process uses multiple methods over the life-cycle of the Australia Awards program. These include:
- Career plans and choice of courses of study
Career Plans (also known as Reintegration Plans or Return to Work plans) help awardees focus on their longer-term aims, including how to apply their new skills and knowledge to drive change and contribute to the development outcomes of Timor-Leste. Recommended as best practice across all Australia Awards activities, they are completed before, during and after the scholarship experience.
Awardees develop their Career Plan with the SAS team after consulting with the Course Counsellor to discuss their choice of study and to identify the Australian institution which best meets their needs.
The SAS team in Dili contact awardees in their final semester to check on progress, return dates and employment plans. Awardees are encouraged to refer to, and review, their Career Plan, whilst they are on award.
- Reintegration workshop
Workforce Development Timor-Leste (WDPTL) organise a Reintegration Workshop for returnees within the first few weeks of arriving back in the country. The workshop includes a (half-day) presentation by employment/recruitment agency Konnekto, who provide information about current employer demand and job-seeking skills such a writing a good CV, interview and networking skills.
Alumni are selected as presenters/speakers according to their experience in the professional sectors most represented by returnees in the workshop. Alumni are encouraged to review and keep their career plans updated.
Individual sessions can also be organised when signing-up with Konnekto to explore CV writing, interview and networking skills further.
- Timor-Leste Australia Alumni Association
Alumni have established an Alumni Association and all returnees are actively encouraged to become a member. The vision of the association is to create a diverse alumni community which acts as a dynamic, open, innovative platform, connecting and fostering alumni contributions to Timor-Leste’s sustainable development.
An alumni member provides initial information about association activities and events at the reintegration workshop to encourage newly returned alumni to take part. Click here for more information about the Alumni Association.
- Other alumni activities
The SAS team offer many events and activities throughout the year for alumni. In the past this has included:
• Alumni Welcome Home Dinner – an annual event attended by the Australian Ambassador providing an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of newly returned alumni and for them to get to know the alumni network and stakeholders.
• Alumni Showcase Series – the events provide an opportunity for alumni to present their research findings to an invited audience of relevant experts, opinion formers and other interested stakeholders.
• Networking and professional development activities – information is sent to all alumni about upcoming events – the SAS team works closely with the Alumni Association to ensure activities are aligned and complimentary.
• Small Grants support Australia Awards alumni to undertake research in their field, conduct community development activities, or participate in leadership/professional development activities. The Small Grants are an ideal way to further develop Alumni skills while making a worthwhile contribution to the community by sharing the knowledge and skills they have gained in Australia. Click here to see what small grantees have accomplished.
• The Graduate Internship Program (GIP) provides retuning alumni with work placements in organisations relevant to their area of study. The program helps alumni to give back to Timor-Leste and to build their networks and future career path.
Contact Herminia.Martins@thepalladiumgroup.com for more information abut the GIP and Small Grants programs.
"Effective planning for successful reintegration helps newly graduated returnees to join, or re-join, the workforce and put into practice knowledge and skills they've learnt in Australia."