Westpac banks on students from the University of Wollongong

Westpac banks on students from the University of Wollongong

The need for skilled technology graduates is increasing each year to meet industry demand. However, Australia has one of the lowest rates of technology graduates of any OECD country.

In a move aimed at addressing this situation, the Westpac Group and UOW have now announced four scholarships for local technology undergraduates.

These scholarships build on Westpac Group’s existing partnership with UOW through the highly successful GENI&US program, which provides cadetships to Year 12 students who are enrolling in a technology undergraduate degree and a pathway into graduate employment at the company.

“We’re living in a digital age, and technology is fundamentally changing the way customers want to manage their finances. Westpac has been responding to this change and investing significant resources in technology. We recognise that technology advancements are critical if we are to keep driving growth and prosperity, and that’s why we’re supporting these technology students,” Chief Operating Officer from Westpac Group, John Arthur, said.

“As one of the biggest employers of technologists in Australia, Westpac wants to support up-and-coming Australian technologists and ensure we’re getting the best and brightest students into our business.”

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings, CBE, said scholarships like these were important in attracting high calibre technology students to the University.

“We’re thrilled to be building on our partnership with Westpac Group with such scholarships making a huge difference for our students by taking some of the financial pressure off them while they are studying.

“Australia needs more IT graduates. We know that Year 12 students do consider scholarships when applying for undergraduate courses and deciding which university to attend, so it’s great to see Westpac stepping up and helping to boost enrolments through these scholarships.”

Earlier this year, Westpac and UOW 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.

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”.

And UOW’s links with Westpac look set to expand even further with the . As part of its approaching 200th anniversary in 2017, Westpac on 2 April launched the single largest private education scholarship program in Australia’s history.

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

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

Meanwhile, the four technology students who will benefit from Westpac’s latest scholarships announcement are Ondrea De Franceschi and Nadia Putria gaining Westpac Corporate Women in Technology Scholarships over three years totalling $15,000 each; and Rory Chatterton and Scott Mackenzie receiving Westpac Corporate Technology Scholarships each totalling $10,000 over two years.

Ondrea is in her second year of a Bachelor of Information Technology degree majoring in e-business.

“As a full-time university student and working as a casual, I have unfortunately experienced some financial pressures as the cost of university life and fees are hard to manage.

“The Westpac Corporate Women in Technology scholarship has given me great assistance financially, and in the long run my focus can be entirely on my studies thus assisting me in achieving my career goals.”

She said since starting her degree, she had thoroughly enjoyed subjects relating to Westpac's fields of project management, application development, maintenance and testing.

Ondrea said there were a lot of exciting opportunities within the Westpac Group in which she could expand her career goals.

Fellow scholarship recipient Nadia Putria, who is her second session working towards a Bachelor of Business Information Systems degree, said while the monetary value would help fund her studies the non-monetary value of the scholarship was the real prize.

She said there were areas at Westpac she could focus on and she planned to drive her course towards an area in which she was passionate.

“I'm just really grateful for receiving the scholarship and I hope to show that I am worthy of being a Westpac scholarship awardee," she said. 

Student Rory Chatterton who is undertaking a Bachelor of Information Technology majoring in eBusiness and a Bachelor of Creative Arts majoring in Theatre, said the scholarship would be of immense benefit.

Rory said the money would allow him to partially reduce his hours at his second job, allowing him to focus more on his studies at UOW.

“It will also allow me to fund further education outside of the University such as studying for Microsoft Certifications," he added.

He said the scholarship allows students the opportunity to play a part in one of the nine separate job families within Westpac’s technology sector.

“I will be in correspondence with a Westpac representative to discuss which technology area is a best fit for me, as well as organise a mentor to guide me for the placement.”

He said the opportunity to enter the workforce for a company like Westpac would be "unreal”.

Scholarship recipient, Scott Mackenzie, who is a second year Bachelor of Computer Science student, said the scholarship would allow him to dedicate more time to his studies.

“I am completing a Machine Learning course while studying fulltime, so the financial support will allow me to commit the extra time required to take on this workload.”

He and the other recipients have been talking to Westpac representatives about work placements and mentorship.

“Westpac has a wide range of technology divisions so I am interested in finding out more about what options are available,” Scott said. One of the Westpac technology divisions in particular which interests him is data mining and modelling.

Media contact:For more information, please contact Bernie Goldie, Media & PR Consultant at UOW, +61 2 4221 5942, +61 412 484 124 or bgoldie@uow.edu.au.