BHP Billiton is to fund an additional 90 scholarships for Indigenous students in Australia to the tune of AUD$10m (USD$10m, GBP£6m).
The Anglo Australian mining and petroleum compay has been a supporter of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) for the past three years.
BHP Billiton Iron Ore President, Jimmy Wilson, said the partnership with AIEF demonstrated BHP Billiton’s commitment to supporting educational and development opportunities for Indigenous people in Australia: “Not only does the scholarship recipient benefit, they also become role models to other young people in their communities, who can then follow in their footsteps. This ripple effect is very powerful and something that we’re incredibly proud to be associated with.”
Andrew Penfold, AIEF’s chief executive officer, added: “One of the biggest barriers to achieving Indigenous equality in Australia is education – we know we have found a sustainable, and scalable, solution that works.”
Students who receive secondary scholarships board at a range of Perth-based private schools. The tertiary programme encourages students from across Australia to apply for degrees in mining-related disciplines such as engineering at Australian universities.
To date, under the partnership 35 Indigenous students in Western Australia have received secondary scholarships, with an additional four students receiving tertiary scholarships this year. All of the secondary scholarship recipients have gone on to pursue a university education.