School leavers have chance for free B&B on campus, thanks to coal company scholarships
Published on 09 August, 2011
BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal (BMC)* has announced A$1.1 million worth of scholarships for local school leavers, effectively removing their cost of living while studying in a non-mining skills area at CQUniversity Mackay.
The BMC Building My Career scholarships will provide students from the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday regions access to free accommodation at CQUniversity Mackay's new student residence for the duration of their study, along with three meals a day during the academic year.
Head of Mackay Campus Pierre Viljoen helps launch the new scholarships
The scholarships are now open to local OP-eligible students who are applying for a place at CQUniversity Mackay for study in 2012. Applications will close in October.
Students will be selected through an interview process conducted by members of the BMC Education Initiative Advisory Group and scholarships will be allocated after the QTAC offers are made. For information on the scholarships visit www.cquni.edu.au/bmc .
The recent scholarship launch attracted a great turnout from community, industry, government and University representatives. Enquiries have already started to arrive from interested parents.
BMC Asset President Michael Rosengren said the scholarships would enable students to access their local world class university with minimal impact to their budget.
"BMC understands that a potential roadblock to attending university for school leavers in the Bowen Basin can be the cost of living away from home," Mr Rosengren said.
"Often this cost and the desire to study loses in the battle against high-paying mine site roles available to school leavers.
"Studying locally also assists the students in acquiring placements in the local region for work experience and possible employment at the end of their course.
"This will add to the general pool of non-mining professionals in the community, as the scholarships are available in areas of community need such as teaching, nursing, chiropractics, medical imaging and business."
The scholarships were the concept of the BMC Education Initiative Advisory Group, consisting of BMC senior personnel and education and business leaders from the greater Mackay region.
The group created the partnership with CQUniversity after BMC's Community Needs Assessment found managing impacts of mining growth, sustaining rural communities and accommodation were critical issues across the basin.
"We acknowledge these issues are key community concerns and take our responsibilities to make an appropriate and meaningful contribution seriously," Mr Rosengren said.
Department of Employment, Education and Training, Regional Director for Education Wayne Butler said his team would provide every endeavour to support this initiative.
"This program will provide outstanding educational opportunities for rural and remote students who may not have chosen this path without the assistance," Mr Butler said.
CQUniversity Pro Vice-Chancellor (Community & Engagement) and Head of the Mackay Campus, Dr Pierre Viljoen was delighted about the positive partnership with BMC.
In welcoming guests he noted: "BMC is proving to be a very community-minded organisation and this scholarship is an excellent example of how industry-university engagement can support the development of sustainable communities".
* About BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal Pty Ltd (BMC)
BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal operates two mines in the Bowen Basin: South Walker Creek Mine and Poitrel Mine.
South Walker Creek Mine is located on the eastern flank of the Bowen Basin, 35 kilometres west of the town of Nebo and 132 kilometres west of the Hay Point port facilities.
Poitrel Mine is situated south-east of the town of Moranbah and began open-cut operations in October 2006.
BHP Billiton owns 80 per cent of BMC.
Further information on BHP Billiton can be found via: http://www.bhpbilliton.com/