UOW praise for Westpac’s $100m scholarship program

UOW praise for Westpac’s $100m scholarship program

The University of Wollongong, which recently signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding with Westpac Banking Corporation, will be among Australian education institutions in line to benefit from Westpac’s $100 million scholarship program announcement.

As part of its approaching 200th anniversary year in 2017, Westpac yesterday (2 April) launched in Sydney the single largest private education scholarship program in Australia’s history -- the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation.

The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation was launched by the Westpac Group Chairman, Mr Lindsay Maxsted, Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Gail Kelly, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Julie Bishop. UOW Chancellor, Ms Jillian Broadbent, AO, represented the University at the announcement.

UOW has been announced as a founding partner of the Foundation through the Young Technologist scholarship (see details below).

Speaking at the launch, Mr Maxsted said: “As we head towards the celebration of our 200th anniversary, we wanted to create a substantial, enduring initiative that would reflect Westpac’s commitment to Australia and its continued prosperity. The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation is designed to support Australians who are shaping a better Australia, while also supporting and nurturing tomorrow’s leaders, and we are proud to be able to provide around 100 scholarships and awards each year.”

Mrs Kelly emphasised the link between the new Foundation and Westpac’s long history of supporting communities.

UOW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings CBE, said Westpac’s decision would prove a great boon for up-and-coming researchers and students alike.

"This is a tremendous corporate philanthropic gift which will have a significant impact on the higher education sector,” he said.

Professor Wellings highlighted how the charitable Foundation would have an exclusive focus on the education and advancement of Australians.

The Westpac funding is expected to initially support students at UOW, the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne with support then planned to extend nationwide.

Based on current trends, Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry will be critically challenged in attracting, developing and retaining sufficient IT talent within the next five years and beyond.

In light of this situation, Westpac and UOW in January this year entered into a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in order to advance co-operative education and research and engagement activities across areas of mutual interest.

The MOU involves the funding of UOW scholarships and prizes across relevant disciplines, and Westpac industry placements particularly for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Information Technology or the Bachelor of Business Information Systems.

It will also involve student mentoring and development of industry-based project proposals for final year IT projects and graduate placements and recruitment across relevant disciplines.

The MOU also includes developing talent and skills in Singapore and South East Asia through Westpac industry placements for students studying relevant UOW programs offered through the Singapore Institute of Management.

Westpac Group Technology acknowledged at the time of the signing that UOW was one of the largest suppliers of ICT graduates in the country with “a stellar record in producing some of the industry’s best graduates”.

Professor Wellings said the Bicentennial Foundation announcement would help accelerate and expand the University’s links with Westpac even further.

Details of the scholarships
Scholarships and awards will be granted by the Foundation in partnership with Australian universities. Currently planned scholarships and awards programs are: 
·  Future Leaders scholarships will be awarded to new or recent graduates for post-graduate study at a prestigious global institution. Nationally, around 17 scholarships will be awarded each year. Recipients will come from a wide range of disciplines, with preference given to Australia’s relationship with Asia and Technology and Innovation.
 ·  Best and Brightest program will provide awards to post-doctoral researchers in Australia’s leading research universities. Two recipients are expected to be selected each year whose work could contribute to enhancing Australia’s competitive position in technology and innovation, or towards helping strengthen Australia’s ties with Asian economies
 ·  The Young Technologists program will offer 30 to 40 three-year undergraduate scholarships each year, awarded for merit, to encourage diversity (women are heavily under-represented in technology disciplines) and to overcome economic disadvantage.
 ·  Asian Exchange scholarships will provide the opportunity for Australian undergraduate students to spend a semester at a leading Asian University, with a focus on increasing the number of Asia-literate graduates in Australia. About 30 to 40 scholarships will be provided each year.

The Community Leaders program will provide 10 awards annually to community leaders to undertake a personal educational opportunity that will have a direct value to their community.

The programs will be developed progressively from 2015 and are expected to be fully operational by 2017.

For information on all scholarships offered through Westpac Bicentennial Foundation visit www.westpac.com.au/200years

Media contact: Bernie Goldie, Media & PR Consultant, +61 2 4221 5942, +61 412 454 124 or bgoldie@uow.edu.au.