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Australia is helping Samoa to build a skilled workforce through scholarships.
The Australia Awards provide opportunities for Samoans to study at tertiary institutions in Australia and the Pacific. The awards enable students to gain the skills and knowledge needed to contribute to their country’s development.
Australia Awards are offered in specialised fields such as science and engineering. These scholars are then in huge demand when they return home.
A study conducted by the Lowy Institute in November 2011 found that 25 per cent of Samoa’s leaders had received a tertiary scholarship funded by Australia. This demonstrates the major contribution that Australian scholarships have made in supporting the learning opportunities and outcomes of Samoans.
Profile: Pearl McFall
Scholarship recipient, Pearl Mc Fall is proof that education can create employment opportunities. In 2011, Pearl returned to Samoa after completing her Bachelor of Engineering (HON) majoring in Civil Engineering from Victoria University. She was able to quickly apply her skill and knowledge in her field. Within a week Pearl was employed at the Electrical Power Corporation. She was appointed assistant civil engineer for a major power station development project. 'It was a challenge to work on such a large project', said Pearl. 'I needed to coordinate between many different contractors to get the job done. It was a good experience'.
After establishing major components of the power station project, Pearl’s interest in water led her to work for Samoan Water Authority. As Planning and Design Engineer she is responsible for providing engineering requirements for implementing infrastructural works. 'The most rewarding part of my job is the satisfaction I get knowing I am working for the people of Samoa', says Pearl. 'Even a small project like laying a pipe into the ground can change lives. It’s a great feeling that a pipe will distribute water to families who never had access to water before'.
Pearl looks back at her time in Australia fondly and appreciates the opportunity she had to study engineering abroad. 'I was very lucky to receive a scholarship to study in Australia. Not many people receive this opportunity to study abroad like this', said Pearl. She encourages anyone interested in the Australian Awards program to apply.
Profile: Ainsof So’o
Ainsof So’o completed his Master of Information Technology (Software Architecture) at Queensland University of Technology in 2012. His studies have given him an internationally-recognised qualification in computer programming.
Ainsof said 'the experience has been a big eye-opener both in my leadership journey, academic and personal development'.
As part of the scholarship, recipients are given support to develop their leadership skills. This included a three-day conference in Canberra, which brought together scholars from all over the world. The conference allows them to learn from each other and develop their leadership skills through workshops, coaching and practical training. 'I found the workshop module especially satisfying as I got to know my fellow awardees better and had hands on experience with key leadership principles', Ainsof said.
Ainsof has returned to Samoa and works for the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) as a Systems Developer and Analyst. SPREP is a regional organisation responsible for protection and sustainable development of the region's environment. 'With the knowledge I gained I hope to increase Samoa and the region’s accessibility to Information and Communications Technology,' Ainsof said.
How to apply
More information, including applicant eligibility criteria can be found at: