Fund­ing en­ables ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion

Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

An Auck­land ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion provider has an­nounced it will soon be of­fer­ing scholarships for trans­gen­der stu­dents.

From the sec­ond se­mes­ter Unitec will of­fer scholarships to two trans stu­dents per year.

Di­rec­tor of Stu­dent Sup­port Ali­son Dow says the school de­cided to cre­ate the scholarships be­cause it recog­nises there are still sig­nif­i­cant bar­ri­ers to suc­cess for trans­gen­der people.

‘‘De­spite the leg­isla­tive progress made on be­half of gay, les­bian and bi­sex­ual people, there re­main sig­nif­i­cant bar­ri­ers for trans people in many facets of their lives,’’ she says.

Ms Dow says these bar­ri­ers can in­clude is­sues around per­sonal safety, as well as chal­lenges like ob­tain­ing an iden­tity card and nav­i­gat­ing the en­rol­ment process.

‘‘As well as fi­nan­cial sup­port, the scholarships will in­clude men­tor­ing to help the re­cip­i­ents en­gage with their stud­ies and life on cam­pus,’’ she says.

The value of each schol- ar­ship $1500.

The school plans to work with the Gay Auck­land Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion Char­i­ta­ble Trust to con­nect with its cur­rent schol­ar­ship pro­gramme, which is aimed at gay and les­bian stu­dents.

Unitec hopes this part­ner­ship will not only boost the value of the schol­ar­ship, but also con­nect stu­dents to other schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents.

Rain­bow Youth gen­eral man­ager Dun­can Matthews says it is great to see Unitec recog­nise the ex­tra hur­dles faced by young trans in­di­vid­u­als.

‘‘I see ex­tremely smart, tal­ented young trans people come through Rain­bow Youth ev­ery day, who strug­gle with the health sys­tem, WINZ, em­ploy­ers, shop staff and whanau just to live as they are,’’ he says.

‘‘It can mean ter­tiary study is a dis­tant dream.’’

He says the scholarships will help more trans people re­alise their true po­ten­tial.

De­tails will be ready closer to the start of se­mes­ter two.

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