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Business engagement

In Australia and in over 40 locations across the Indo-Pacific, the New Colombo Plan is connecting businesses with the next generation of young Australian leaders.

The Australian Government's New Colombo Plan is a unique scholarships program, targeting both the next generation of Australian leaders, as well as encouraging all Australian undergraduates to experience and learn more about the region.

Delivering on the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper commitment to amplify Australia's influence in the Indo-Pacific, the NCP provides life-changing opportunities for young Australians, and strengthens people-to-people and institutional connections within the region. The NCP is a transformative program, and a practical demonstration of Australia's commitment to learn from our neighbours, just as we know students from our region benefit from their experiences in Australia.

Business is central to the program's ability to provide meaningful, course-related work experiences to complement students' formal studies in the region. Internships, mentorships and practicums are a hallmark of the NCP and provide students with opportunities to test their skills in real life situations, build cross-cultural competencies and develop professional networks that can last a lifetime.

Benefits to Business

For Australian companies, future success in the Indo-Pacific region will require a highly skilled workforce with in-country experience and relationships.

"The NCP is an ideal platform for Australian companies to identify and attract exceptional Australian students who have studied in some of the leading universities in the region." Doug Ferguson, Chairman, Asia Society Australia.

Business and other organisations across the region can deepen their engagement with a new generation of young Australians, access a diverse pool of talent, and grow unique relationships and networks.

Benefits to young Australians

The NCP is providing a new generation of Australians with practical experience of living, studying and gaining workplace skills in the Indo-Pacific region. The NCP supports around120 scholarships each year for up to 19 months including study, internships, mentorships and language training; and flexible mobility projects for around 10,000 students per year for both short-term and semester-length study, internships, mentorships, practicums and research.

Person standing on stage speaking
"My NCP internship and mentorship experiences have immeasurably contributed to my professional growth. I feel I can now confidently pursue my ambitions with greater clarity, aiming to establish a career in the Indo-Pacific." – Emma Moore, Monash University

New Colombo Plan Internship and Mentorship Network

The New Colombo Plan Internship and Mentorship Network connects universities, students and private-sector organisations in Australia and across the region.

As a registered Network member, private-sector host organisations can access a diverse talent pool and support students in obtaining professional experience in the region.

Internship hosts are recognised, as appropriate, through New Colombo Plan social media, case studies, and speeches.

Businesses can register at New Colombo Plan: Internship and Mentorship Network.

NCP Mobility Partner

The New Colombo Plan Mobility Partners Program encourages businesses to develop and foster partnerships with Australian universities to enhance New Colombo Plan student experiences.

New Colombo Plan Mobility Partners enter into agreements with Australian universities, with the ability to directly influence the design of programs, such as cohort size, timing in country, and student selection.

More information: Mobility Program.


Information on sponsors and sponsorship opportunities is at Private-sector partners.

Business Champions

New Colombo Plan Business Champions play an important role in promoting the value of regional study to students' career prospects and in fostering business engagement with the New Colombo Plan.

The New Colombo Plan Business Champions are:

  • Mr Michael Anghie, Group CEO Advanced Personnel Management
  • Ms Tania Archibald, CFO, BlueScope ANZ
  • Mr Peter Botten, Managing Director, Oil Search
  • Ms Penny Burtt, Group CEO Asialink
  • Mr Peter Coleman, CEO and Managing Director, Woodside Energy
  • Ms Gabrielle Costigan, CEO, BAE Systems Australia
  • Mr Geoff Culbert, Chairman & CEO Sydney Airport
  • Mr Grant Dooley, CEO ARA Infrastructure, ARA Asset Management
  • Sir Rod Eddington AO, Chairman Asia Pacific Advisory Council, J.P. Morgan
  • Mr Doug Ferguson, Partner, Head of Asia & International Markets, KPMG
  • Mr Brian Hartzer, Chief Executive Officer, Westpac
  • Ms Wendy Holdenson, Chief Operating Officer and Director, Mitsui & Co
  • Ms Christine Holgate, CEO, Australia Post
  • Ms Jayne Hrdlicka, CEO A2 Milk Company
  • Mr Ian Kemish, Executive General Manager, Newcrest Mining
  • Mr Steve McCann, Group CEO and Managing Director, Lendlease
  • Ms Margaret Murphy, Chief HR Officer, QBE Insurance Group
  • Mr Mukund Narayanamurti, CEO, Asialink Business
  • Mr David Olsson, China Practice Consultant, King & Wood Mallesons
  • Mr Andrew Parker, Partner, Asia Practice Leader, PwC Australia
  • Mr Andrew Penn, CEO, Telstra
  • Mr Girish Ramachandran, President Asia Pacific, Tata Consultancy Services
  • Ms Ann Sherry, Executive Chairman, Carnival Australia
  • Ms Diane Smith-Gander, Non-Executive Director, Wesfarmers Ltd
  • Ms Sharon Warburton, Co-Deputy Chairman, Fortescue Metals Group
  • Ms Alison Watkins, Group Managing Director, Coca-Cola Amatil
  • Ms Shemara Wikramanayake, Managing Director (and CEO designate), Macquarie Group
  • Ms Nicola Yeomans, Partner, Head of SE Asia Corporate, Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Ms Maggie Zhou, Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, Alibaba Group


For more information on the New Colombo Plan's business programs or to discuss opportunities to support the program, please contact the NCP Secretariat via

Last Updated: 17 June 2019
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