The value of having an Australian-recognised qualification is clearly not lost on the workers. Asked what value they saw in the training, the workers replied “We were so happy when they gave us the opportunity to get training that is officially recognised… Receiving the certificate gives us opportunities. It was something we dreamt about and now it has happened.”

2017 was a milestone year for Australian business engagement in ASEAN. In ASEAN’s 50th anniversary year, two Australian business chambers were established with a regional focus, reflecting the increased recognition in business circles of the exciting opportunities in ASEAN.

Imagine if you regularly waited months to receive medical supplies, food and water, and then when the ship finally arrived it took up to three weeks to unload due to the increased frequency of adverse weather conditions caused by climate change. This is the reality for the people of Nauru. That is why Australia is partnering with Nauru, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to build a climate resilient, safe deep water port to facilitate the speedy delivery of essential supplies and to encourage increased trade and economic activity in the country.

At our High Commission in Kuala Lumpur we recently did just this, with the launch of the acclaimed ‘Faith, Fashion, Fusion: Muslim Women’s Style in Australia’ exhibition at the renowned Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia.

Developed by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, ‘Faith, Fashion, Fusion’ showcases the experiences of leading Australian Muslim women, how they express their faith through fashion, and Australia’s modest fashion industry.

One of the best parts of my job is meeting the workers from Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru, involved in the Program. I particularly enjoy seeing them grow into their new jobs and life in Australia. They make an astonishing journey coming to Australia, leaving behind their families, children and community. They do this for the opportunity to gain skills and experience, and ensure that their families have money for education, health and household needs.

My experience as an intern in the Australian Embassy in Japan has been everything I hoped it would be – and more! My understanding of international affairs and Japanese has increased and I have grown and developed as a person.

Being provided with the opportunity to live, study and work in Tokyo while on a New Colombo Plan scholarship has also been phenomenal. Whilst Tokyo is a busy, densely populated city, it never ceases to amaze me there is always green space, festivals to attend, and places to relax.  Life is never boring.

On International Volunteer Day 2017, Australian volunteer Brad Timms serves as a shining example of the personal, professional and profound lasting benefits of international volunteering.