Banking on next generation
Scholarships a boost into ag sector
RURAL Bank has opened applications for its 2018 national scholarship program to the next generation of agricultural leaders.
Rural Bank’s 2018 program will see an increased investment in the number of scholarships available, with up to 15 tertiary scholarships of $5000 available for first-time undergraduate students eager to begin their careers in the Australian agriculture sector.
This number has risen from nine scholarships awarded in 2017.
While the location where students either completed secondary schooling or plan to undertake their university studies is not part of the selection criteria, based on previous years’ applications, Rural Bank expects the majority of applicants will come from regional communities.
“Almost 30 per cent of Australians live in regional areas, yet they comprise fewer than 20 per cent of university enrolments,” Rural Bank CEO managing director Alexandra Gartmann said.
“In some instances, students who do choose to pursue further study are forced to relocate hundreds of kilometres away and are often challenged by simply meeting the cost of tertiary education, in light of adverse seasonal conditions and competing priorities on the farm.”
People from major cities are twice as likely to hold a degree than those from regional and remote areas. In an effort to bridge this alarming educational divide, Rural Bank is targeting outstanding students who are dedicated to making a significant contribution to the agricultural sector.
“Through our scholarship program, we are able to play a role in assisting these students to pursue a rewarding career in agriculture by removing some of the barriers they face and ultimately helping to bridge the educational divide in regional Australia,” Ms Gartmann said.
In 2015, Caitlyn Daffey was awarded a Rural Bank Scholarship to help her pursue a career in veterinary science that otherwise may not have been possible.
Travelling thousands of kilometres from her home in Ballarat to study at Townsville’s James Cook University, Caitlyn’s story demonstrates both the extreme challenges faced by regional students, and also the true value of the Rural Bank Scholarship Program.
“Financial support from Rural Bank was a great help to me. It took the pressure off so that I was able to concentrate more on my studies rather than worrying about money,” Ms Daffey said.
Scholarship recipients will receive financial support to the value of $5000 for the first year of their studies to contribute to the costs of accommodation, travel, course materials, study equipment and tutoring.
Subject to academic performance, the scholarship funding could be extended to support their second year of study.
Apply for the 2018 Rural Bank Scholarship Program before January 29, 2018. More information at www.ruralbank.com.au/scholarships.
who do choose to pursue further study are forced to relocate hundreds of kilometres away... — Alexandra Gartmann
HELPING HAND: Caitlyn Daffey is a Rural Bank Scholarship winner.