A total of 579 African recipients of an Australian Award from 28 countries participated in the 2014 arrival (248) and ongoing (331) surveys administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Nearly half of respondents (49%) were female and about three quarters were accompanied to Australia by their families.
In terms of overall satisfaction, more than 98% of Awardees were satisfied with their Award experience in 2014. This is consistent with results from the 2013 surveys.
In preparing to come to Australia, survey results indicated a high level of satisfaction with preparation arrangements, with 97% of new arrivals indicating a high satisfaction rating. During the pre-mobilisation phase, 98% of new arrivals were satisfied with their application and interview preparation and almost 95% found the advice from staff of the Australia Awards program to be essential or very useful. Awardees were also positive about the pre-departure briefings, with 98% being satisfied with how this activity helped them further prepare for the transition to life in Australia.
However, challenges still existed for the newly arrived cohort, with regard to both family and the workplace. While preparing to come to Australia, the three key challenges identified by newly arrived Awardees included negotiating a departure time with their employer, the time gap between finishing work and leaving for Australia, and making arrangements for their families.
For those Awardees living and studying in Australia, satisfaction with the ability to cope with financial issues was generally high, numbering 91% of new arrivals and 97% of ongoing students. Although Awardees may expect seeking part-time work to be a smooth process, survey results indicated that finding part-time employment is a challenge. For those Awardees who bring their families to Australia, challenges were experienced in covering the costs of caring for dependents, including child care and school fees. It is important for Awardees to note that family life in Australia is quite expensive.
With regard to study-related issues while on-Award, 79% of new arrivals and 76% of ongoing students were satisfied with their ability to cope with study-related issues while living in Australia. Concerning the selected course area, a high figure of 96% of ongoing students agreed that they had chosen the right course or research topic at their institution, while 91% agreed that they had chosen the right educational institution in Australia.