10 February 2011

More than 80 deserving secondary students from schools across Queensland and northern New South Wales converged on The University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus last Friday, February 11, to kick off the UQ Young Achievers Program.

The group of Year 11 students, all of whom have experienced educational disadvantage, will receive financial and mentoring support throughout their senior schooling and have been guaranteed a place and scholarship at UQ when they complete their Year 12 studies.

Now in its second year, the Young Achievers Program aims to build the tertiary aspirations of students who may not, without this assistance, have considered university.

The students come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds and many are from rural areas. Also, the majority of students will be the first in their immediate family to study at university.

170 educationally disadvantaged students in years 11 and 12 are now participating in the program.

The Director of UQ’s Office of Prospective Students, Scholarships and Student Equity, Margaret Fairman, said: “The program focuses on building the students’ educational ambitions by providing opportunities for social development, academic enrichment and personal growth.”

The Young Achievers will receive $1000 annually to support them through Years 11 and 12, and those who transition to UQ will receive $6000 per year for up to four years.

In addition, the UQ Young Achievers will receive practical support including career planning, advice on study options, mentoring by UQ students and on-campus experiences to help overcome the challenges they may face.

“An integral and unique part of the program is a community project that every student undertakes,” Ms Fairman said.

“This is designed to encourage a sense of civic responsibility in the UQ Young Achievers and we hope that as a result they will become role models who can inspire other disadvantaged students in the future.

“Family participation is actively encouraged in the program as most students’ families have no previous involvement in tertiary education.”

This year’s 88-strong Year 11 cohort represents 28 schools from as far north as Weipa to as far south as Woodenbong, in northern NSW.

Students spent the weekend participating in personal development workshops, campus tours and group activities during a residential camp at UQ’s Grace College.

The Young Achievers Program was established in 2009 with the financial support of Mr Andrew Brice, co-founder of Wotif.com. It is co-funded by the University of Queensland, with assistance from generous university donors.

“We are very grateful for the financial support, passion and commitment of our Donors to this initiative,” Ms Fairman said.

“We hope the positive educational outcomes for these students will inspire many other organisations and philanthropic individuals to support the Young Achievers program.”

People wishing to support the program can contact the Office of Prospective Students, Scholarships and Student Equity, telephone +61 7 3346 7704, email: m.fairman@uq.edu.au

Schools participating in the 2011 program are:

Boonah State High School
Bundamba State Secondary College
Bremer State High School
Centenary Heights State High School
Centenary State High School
Charleville State High School
Chinchilla State High School
Dalby State High School
Forest Lake State High School
Glenala State High School
Goondiwindi State High School
Harristown State High School
Ipswich State High School
Laidley State High School
Lowood State High School
Miles State High School
Oakey State High School
Pittsworth State High School
Quilpie State College
Redbank Plains State High School
Roma State College - Senior Campus
St George State High School
Tara Shire State College
Toogoolawah State High School
Toowoomba State High School
Western Cape College - Weipa Campus
Woodcrest State College
Woodenbong Central School
Media enquiries: Margaret Fairman 07 3346 7704 or Caroline Bird 07 3365 1931