What We're About

The Australian Overseas Foundation (AOF) is a non-profit organisation providing awards to travel and work overseas for Australians between the ages of 21 and 34, who have completed a trade apprenticeship or vocational traineeship to Certificate Level III.

AOF Goals

The AOF’s goal is to identify outstanding young vocationally-trained Australians, and through its awards, help develop their leadership skills, and increase their knowledge and experience that is subsequently reinvested in Australian industry on their return.

Why are we here? The AOF exists because we strongly believe that supporting the personal development of outstanding young people will help our country to thrive. Australian industry can see the long term benefits of young people working overseas, honing their skills and obtaining state-of-the-art trade experience to keep Australia at the forefront of technical innovation and know-how.

Our Mission

  • To attract award applicants who are outstanding in their fields of endeavour.
  • To provide a unique opportunity for excellence, achievement, personal development and cultural experiences for award winners.
  • To develop the organisation to ensure that it is financially strong and appropriately resourced.
  • To build effective relationships with key organisations involved in apprenticeship and vocational training.

More About AOF

Our Vision

To be the peak provider of overseas awards to outstanding young vocationally trained Australians, in order to develop their leadership skills, and increase their knowledge and experience that is subsequently reinvested in Australia.

Our History

In 1956, the Victorian Overseas Foundation (VOF) was established by a group of industrialists, technical colleges and Rotarians. During 1957, the first awards were made. The VOF’s goal was to provide opportunities for young people who had completed an apprenticeship or a certificate of vocational studies or traineeship to work and study overseas in the country of their choice.

In the early 1980s, the Foundation was expanded to become national, obtained Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status and renamed the Australian Overseas Foundation Inc. (AOF). The AOF embraced the view that the pace of global technology and learning was dynamic with the ongoing need for awards to be made available in the areas of craft, technical studies and trade, traineeships and technician fields.

Funding for these awards has been provided by Rotary clubs, industrial, business and trade organisations, federal and state government and individuals.

AOF Snapshot

60 years of operation with over 329 awards presented to talented young Australians.

Award winners have worked in numerous overseas countries including, U.K., Germany, France, Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Canada, United States, Switzerland, France, Italy and Asia.

Recipients have made a major contribution to the success of business and industry on their return to Australia by forming their own companies, securing senior and executive management roles and lecturing and teaching.

Recipient trades: Electrical, Automotive Trades, Engineering, Building, Watchmaking and Jewellery, Plumbing, Printing, Horticulture, Aircraft Mechanics, Welding, Dental Mechanics, Hospitality, Fashion, Hairdressing, Furniture, Boatbuilding.

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors at AOF.
John Bieske
John Bieske
CEO and Treasurer
(Joined Board in 2004)
David Williams
David Williams
Secretary and Public Officer
(Joined Board in 2010)
Tom Thorpe OAM
Tom Thorpe OAM
Director and Chairman
(Joined Board in 1996)
Deborah Mullan
Deborah Mullan
Director & Correspondence Secretary
(Joined Board in 2015)
Graeme Little
Graeme Little
Director & Minute Secretary
(Joined Board in 2006)
Mark Callaghan
Mark Callaghan
Director & Vice Chairman
(Joined Board in 2016)
Norm Lyons
Norm Lyons
Director
(Joined Board in 2009)
Chris Whyte
Chris Whyte
Director
(Joined Board in 2013)
Jake Pitman
Jake Pitman
Director
(Joined Board in 2016)
Marcia Devlin
Marcia Devlin
Director
(Joined Board in 2017)
AOF Patron
His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd)

The Governor-General sees the work of the AOF as complementary to his responsibilities as Governor-General and to themes of personal interest to him.

Full Biography

SPONSOR AOF TODAY AND BE PART OF WHAT WE DO

Get in touch and find out how you can make a difference to young Australians and your industry.
Phone: +61 407 828 033
PO Box 333, Tunstall Square
DONCASTER EAST VIC 3109