The private sector has thrown its support behind the New Colombo Plan, with three businesses partnering with the Australian Government to deliver cross-cultural training to students preparing to study in the region.

The Bennelong Foundation, with the strong support of the Myer Foundation and Asialink Business will contribute a combined $885,000 to develop and deliver training to students over the next five years.

The training will help arm students with the awareness and sensibility to effectively engage across cultures, derive maximum benefit from their experiences in the region, and be positive ambassadors for Australia.

This is a significant private sector investment in the New Colombo Plan – a signature Australian Government initiative to deepen knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.

It also reflects the positive reception of the business community to the program’s emphasis on students undertaking a work placement as part of their experience.

A pilot will commence in 2015 in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The program is expected to deliver a range of training opportunities to around 7000 New Colombo Plan mobility students across Australia by 2019.

The Australian Government has committed $100 million in new funding over five years to implement the New Colombo Plan. Building on the success of its pilot, the New Colombo Plan is expanding significantly in 2015 to offer 69 scholarships and grants to support more than 3100 mobility students across 32 locations in the region.

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