Kellie Sampson is adamant education is important and essential to the plight of Aboriginal people.
That’s why the mother of three applauds companies like Community Sector Banking for standing up to make it a bit easier for people like herself to get into university.
In 2018 Ms Sampson received an Indigenous Scholarship allowing her to take up a Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Wollongong.
“It took a long time for me to be in a place to be able to make the leap into university,” she said.
“I have struggled working my way up from the bottom. I have a huge support system helping me to ensure my success and this scholarship is a big part of it.
“UOW Woolyungah Indigenous Centre also provide support and a fabulous tutor.
“My workplace has also been great. Without them I don't know if I could achieve my dream.”
Community Sector Banking is again offering nine scholarships [$60,000] to assist indigenous students with the cost of study.
Three of these scholarships are valued at $10,000 each, including one specifically for a UOW student.
Ms Sampson, who has worked as a nurse for the past 10 years, encouraged indigenous students to apply before the January 29 deadline.
“Just knowing part of the financial pressure is eased is a huge relief,” the 39-year-old Sutherland resident said.
“Between uni, work and family, it's tough but I have faced tougher and know I can do it. And, if I can inspire anyone to make that leap and pursue higher education then this would be worth it.”
Ms Sampson said it was important that Aboriginal people were represented in every workplace, especially in medicine.
“We go about healthcare differently then mainstream Australia,” she said.
Nurses were the “front-line of the healthcare system”.
“We educate, treat and develop relationships with our patients so it's vital the profession understand how to engage with indigenous people.
“I hope to work in indigenous health developing health initiatives in the future,” Ms Sampson said.
Community Sector Banking chief executive officer, Andrew Cairns, said while there was a growing number of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students enrolling to study at university, they were more than twice as likely than other domestic students to leave their degrees during their first year.
“Among Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students who seriously consider leaving university, financial difficulty is the most commonly reported reason (44 per cent),” Mr Cairns said.
“This is why we have committed to providing financial assistance to students while they are studying at university or TAFE, including students who are working in an apprenticeship or traineeship.”
Community Sector Banking’s Indigenous Scholarship Program is administered in partnership with the Community Enterprise Foundation (CEF).
Visit http://www.communitysectorbanking.com.au/grants/scholarships before January 29 for information or to apply.