The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, recently launched the New Colombo Plan Alumni Program in Queensland. “The New Colombo Plan Alumni Program will help young Australians who have participated in the NCP to stay connected to each other and to the region as they progress in their lives and careers,” Minister Bishop said. “Already the NCP is supporting more than 3,000 young Queenslanders to live, study and undertake work placements in the Indo-Pacific. “Over time the growing cohort of NCP alumni will play an increasingly important role in Australia’s relationships with our neighbours to become an influential and diverse network of Australians with direct experience in the Indo-Pacific, strong professional and personal networks in the region, and a driving force in Australia’s future prosperity,” Minister Bishop
Matthew Sharp from Griffith University (@GriffithUniversity) highlighted the role of alumni in supporting each other to maintain their connections to the region and to identify future job opportunities as students complete their studies. “The alumni community has already been responsible for a number of alumni securing highly sought after internships throughout Hong Kong and China, which have now turned into permanent, full-time positions,” Mr Sharp said.Mr Sharp studied law at the University of Hong Kong and interned with King & Wood Mallesons (@KingWoodMallesons) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Before starting his degree at Griffith University, Mr Sharp left high school in year 10 to serve in the Australian Army as a rifleman for six years, which include deployments in East Timor and Afghanistan. Mr Sharp has now established the Australian Student Veterans Association to encourage more ADF veterans to enrol at university following their service to pursue their academic and professional goals. “Before enlisting in the Army, I left school in year 10 because I was never very good at school and therefore didn’t have any motivation to continue,” Mr Sharp said. “My successes at university to date has been due to my military training and experience and that is one of the key reasons why I started the Australian Student Veterans Association – to demonstrate to other veterans that, not only are they capable of drawing upon their military training and experience to enrol at university and pass – but actually doing exceedingly well, which can lead to fantastic opportunities like being awarded scholarships like the New Colombo Plan,” Mr Sharp said.