Funding commitments to benefit students and Indigenous health
The University of Melbourne welcomes the Opposition’s election commitments of $1.65 million to provide internships to disadvantaged students and $2 million to expand the work of the Melbourne Poche Centre and network for emerging Indigenous leaders in health.
Shadow Assistant Minister for Universities and Equality Louise Pratt made these announcements at the University today.
University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell welcomed the commitments.
“This internship program will complement the University of Melbourne’s existing suite of student equity initiatives, which include scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, special entry for students from underrepresented schools, and mentoring programs.
“Funding for the Melbourne Poche Centre for Indigenous Health will see our Indigenous health leadership programs being expanded and will allow the University to contribute more to improving the lives of Indigenous Australians through research and stronger community engagement,” Professor Maskell said.
The internships will allow the University to start a pilot program aimed at increasing the number of students who undertake work-based placements during their studies, with a particular focus on second year students who are the first in their family to undertake university education.
The program, which will run over three years from 2020, will allow up to 350 students to undertake internships while being paid a stipend for expenses such as travel, accommodation and other costs. This can enable students to undertake work experience who might otherwise be unable to do so because of financial constraints.
University of Melbourne Director Student Success Tim Brabazon said that while tertiary education acts as an enabler of opportunity, there are patterns of disadvantage that persist beyond entry into the university system.
“First in Family students can face unique challenges, not only in accessing a place at a university, but also in succeeding in their studies and in achieving their potential post-study,” Mr Brabazon said.
The University’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health provides support and opportunities for the next generation of Indigenous leaders in health, in particular PhD candidates, postdoctoral fellows, and other emerging health leaders outside of the academy.
Poche Centre initiatives including assisting Indigenous health researchers to explore career opportunities and develop networks through learning modules in Melbourne and London.
Melbourne Poche Centre Manager Indigenous Student Programs Warwick Padgham said there has been strong growth in the breadth and success of the University’s Indigenous research students.
“An increase in both student enrolments and graduates means we are always looking for more opportunities to appropriately fund and support the development of the Indigenous research workforce,” Mr Padgham said.
“Support of our programs at the Poche Centre means we can provide more opportunities for emerging health leaders to build students’ knowledge, confidence and academic standing.”