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Improving job prospects through scholarships
A student scholarship has the potential to change the course of a life by opening up new vocational opportunities and enabling a broader understanding of the world.
That is the plan of the Townsville Catholic Education Office, which recently received a grant through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy to run two scholarship programmes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Queensland.
The students in both programmes come from approximately 60 different remote communities throughout Queensland as well as rural and regional towns within the Townsville Catholic district.
The ‘Jump It’ scholarships programme will assist around 490 students through years 10-12 to complete their secondary school qualification and then ‘jump the gap’ into university studies, other training or apprenticeships and into a job or career.
The Indigenous Youth Development Programme will offer 131 scholarships to students at Catholic secondary schools in Townsville, Mount Isa, Charters Towers, Proserpine, Ayr, Ingham and Abergowrie. This scholarship provide programmes and events designed to support the student’s attendance, culture and identity as well as outline pathways available to them upon completion of their schooling. It will also assist with the recipient’s school fees and other associated costs of their schooling. Scholarship recipients must show aspiration and determination to develop their academic, artistic or sporting skills.
In charge of the scholarship programmes is Ernie Christie, Director of Learning and Teaching, Catholic Identity and Indigenous Education.
“We are excited about the programmes and we are hoping the learning we gain from the implementation of these programmes will also potentially help all students in our schools to engage more positively with the schooling process,” Ernie said.
The Indigenous Youth Development Programme includes workshops, motivational speakers, personal tutoring and other programmes, all designed to support students in every possible way. There are workshops for the students’ parents so they can also provide the necessary support.
‘Jump It’ will track the achievements of its scholarship students through a series of plans personalised for each student and which assist their progress into a career. It also includes workshops for parents.
“These programmes will contribute to improving school engagement, retention, achievement and post school pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who attend our Secondary Colleges,” Ernie said.
“Successful educational outcomes provide the students with the choice and power for economic independence.”