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A headstart for their education journey

11 September 2019

Applications are now open for the Gunnedah Community Scholarship Fund for those who are about to start on their post-school journey of learning.

Last year, 24 young people were given a headstart through the scholarship fund in tertiary courses from Bachelor of Paramedicine through to Bachelor of Agriculture.

Chair of the Gunnedah Community Scholarship Fund Working Group Gae Swain said the fund was one way to make the transition to tertiary education a little easier.

“Many young people have to move away to pursue their dreams of a career that requires a tertiary education,” Cr Swain said.

“There are all sorts of costs involved including the purchase of essential study materials and equipment, accommodation and fees.

“The Gunnedah Community Scholarship Fund is a way to support our young people as they further their education, with the hope that their learning and skills will one day be of benefit to regional New South Wales. They might even find their way home to Gunnedah to follow their careers.

“It is wonderful that they can be supported on this part of their journey by their home town.

“Since the fund’s inception 15 years ago, more than $300,000 across close to 350 scholarships has been awarded to local students. Scholarships have covered many disciplines including accounting, agriculture, allied health, animal science, law, architecture, arts/theatre, civil engineering, education, information technology, medicine, nursing and social work.”

Laura Watterson, a recipient of the 2018-19 community scholarship, is now studying Bachelor of Paramedicine at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst.

“We have to have a uniform for the duration of our degree,” Laura said. “That can cost $300 to $600, and the scholarship was a massive help in that aspect, as well as for accommodation, textbooks and just the cost of living.

“We are just so lucky. We don’t have a university in Gunnedah and this helps us with the opportunity to get a degree.”
Laura hopes t
o work with NSW Ambulance as a paramedic when she finishes her degree.

Cr Swain said the Gunnedah Community Scholarship would not be possible without the sponsorship of local businesses who recognised the value of the program.

“Without the support of local businesses and groups, these students would not have the benefit of this financial help,” she said.

“We already have some great supporters on board, but we are in need of a few more.

“If your group or business has not sponsored the Community Scholarship before, there is still time to get involved in what is a very fulfilling program.”

The sponsorship is open to students under 25 who have completed their secondary or tertiary preparation studies within a 100km radius of Gunnedah and whose family’s principle place of residence is within Gunnedah Shire. They must have been accepted into an approved tertiary course (minimum Certificate IV).

For the full eligibility conditions and to apply, view the Gunnedah Community Scholarship Fund Application Form.

Applications close on Sunday, December 15, 2019.

Business, groups or individuals who would like to become a sponsor can contact Gunnedah Shire Council Youth Development Officer Ellen Valler on 6740 2100.

Photo caption: 2018-19 Gunnedah Community Scholarship recipient Laura Watterson in her paramedic’s uniform.


Media Contact: Eliza Gallen (02) 6740 2100.