Client name: Australian Government – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

Duration: July 2009 - ongoing

Location: Vietnam

Coffey currently manages the Australia Awards Vietnam scholarship program, through the Vietnam Australia Human Resources Development Partnership, supporting Vietnam’s economic growth and development through higher education opportunities in Australia.

Situation

Australia and Vietnam have maintained a strong diplomatic partnership for more than 40 years. Australia supports Vietnam’s continuing prosperity, with a focus on improving health and education quality affected by years of extreme poverty and war.

The Australia Awards are Australian Government scholarships offered to postgraduate applicants around the world who are passionate about supporting the growth of their country. Since 1974, more than 4000 Australia Awards Scholarships have been awarded to Vietnamese applicants. This has given Vietnam’s next generation of leaders the education opportunities that will enable them to be at the forefront of development in Vietnam. The Australia Awards Vietnam strongly encourages women, people with disabilities and people from marginalised groups to apply.

Solution

Coffey manages the Australia Awards Vietnam, ensuring recipients study across a range of industries and areas to support the country’s development goals. The current focus is on improving the quality of Vietnam’s human resources, transport infrastructure and policy, rural access to clean water and hygienic sanitation, and climate change adaptation across the Mekong Delta.

Coffey is responsible for managing the overall scholarship cycle including providing services for program promotion, selection and placement of awardees, monitoring of scholars’ progress while studying, program monitoring and evaluation, and provision of alumni support.

Once recipients return to Vietnam, they join an alumni network of academics, business and community leaders and government officials. This provides access to mentoring, events, academic resources, and development grants to consolidate the professional knowledge gained in Australia. 

Result

Australia Awards Vietnam has positively contributed towards the economic growth and poverty reduction in Vietnam.  

Australian alumni in Vietnam have made personal contributions to the country’s development areas, including business services, education, science and technology and economics. A tracer study in 2014 found that 96 per cent of alumni said that the knowledge and skills they acquired in Australia were relevant to, and implemented in their current job.

Alumni have helped to improve the quality of teaching and research programs in Vietnamese universities and have supported Vietnam’s English skills expansion throughout the country. Small grants were provided to 65 alumni to implement post-award activities, particularly in the areas of rural development, education and environment.

Women have an equal opportunity to obtain an Australia Award, with women comprising almost 60 per cent of Award recipients between 2010 and 2015 thanks to the program’s Gender and Social Inclusion Strategy. The Strategy was also instrumental in encouraging 71 applicants with a disability to apply (of whom 28 were successful) and resulted in 65 scholarships to ethnic minorities and 103 to other rural disadvantaged applicants.

The innovative Equity Access Fund provided support to many disadvantaged applicants, scholars and alumni. Australia Awards alumni have returned to Vietnam with positive perceptions of, and links to, Australia. These individual connections between Vietnam alumni and Australia represent a valuable and long-term relationship between people and institutions that contributes to the overall strength and sustainability of the Vietnam-Australia bilateral relationship.

The Australia Awards – Vietnam program is managed by the Vietnam Australia Human Resource Development Partnership, also managed by Coffey.