BHP doubles indigenous student funding

18/10/2013 - 06:13

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BHP Billiton Iron Ore will today announce the doubling of its investment in scholarships for indigenous students in Western Australia.

BHP doubles indigenous student funding
The Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council chair Warren Mundine (left), BHP Billiton Iron Ore president Jimmy Wilson and Australian Indigenous Education Foundation chief executive Andrew Penfold. Photo: Attila Csaszar

BHP Billiton Iron Ore has announced the doubling of its investment in scholarships for indigenous students in Western Australia.

BHP has committed a further $10 million to the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation to fund an additional 90 secondary and tertiary scholarships for indigenous students in Australia.

A total of 185 scholarships nationwide will be delivered to students during the next 10 years.

BHP Billiton Iron Ore president Jimmy Wilson announced the new funding at a function this morning at the State Reception Centre in Kings Park.

Mr Wilson said the partnership with AIEF demonstrated BHP Billiton’s commitment to supporting educational and development opportunities for indigenous Australians.

“I have been privileged enough to spend time with some of the young people on our scholarship program, and their commitment and dedication to achieving their goals is inspiring,” Mr Wilson said.

“Not only does the scholarship recipient benefit, they also become role models to other young people in their communities, who can then follow in their footsteps. This ripple effect is very powerful and something that we’re incredibly proud to be associated with."

AIEF chief executive Andrew Penfold said the funding would make a substantial difference.

“One of the biggest barriers to achieving indigenous equality in Australia is education – we know we have found a sustainable and scalable solution that works. We’re seeing it in action every day,” he said.

To date, under the partnership, 35 indigenous students in Western Australia have received secondary scholarships, including 24 students from the Pilbara, with an additional four students receiving tertiary scholarships this year. All of the secondary scholarship recipients have gone on to pursue a university education.

The partnership is funded through the BHP Billiton Community Development Program. The program invested $58 million into the WA community in FY13, bringing the total investment in the state during the past five years to more than $200 million.

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