Squadron Energy Indigenous Shaping Futures Scholarship in STEM and Finance is helping create opportunities in the renewables sector for First Nations students at the University of Newcastle.

Written by Squadron Energy |

Squadron Energy’s Project Officer Nadine Caff said the scholarship reflects Squadron’s commitment to sharing the benefits of renewable energy, through upskilling local communities and First Nations people with in-demand skills for the renewable sector.

“This scholarship encourages and supports students through their educational journey, alleviating financial pressures that may have otherwise been a preventative barrier in the pursuit of a career in STEM,” Ms Caff said.

UON student Jack Goldspink, 21, graduated with a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science and was the 2023 recipient of the Squadron Energy Indigenous Shaping Futures Scholarship in STEM and Finance.

Mr Goldspink said the support has been incredibly helpful, particularly when undertaking placement in his final semester.

“It helps alleviate that financial stress that a lot of people will have because you know you can put it away for uniforms on placement or rent."

The Scholarship awarded to last year’s recipient, Joel Hynes, member of the Malyangapa Nation, has supported him in his ongoing studies of a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management.

“Many of my colleagues and I are alumni of this degree, it is a very relevant pathway for future employment within the renewable energy sector."

The scholarship has helped Joel form industry connections, completing a placement at Squadron Energy and build on his skills for future employment.

Joel Hynes  

Mr. Hynes said that receiving the scholarship has been a life-changing experience and has provided substantial support for his educational journey.

“The scholarship has relieved the financial stress associated with pursuing higher education, ensuring that I can focus on my studies without the burden of financial constraints. Without this scholarship my quality of learning would have most likely suffered from having to work more hours to support myself financially,” Mr Hynes said.

“Being part of this scholarship program has connected me with a community of like-minded individuals and professionals in the renewable energy sector. This network has provided mentorship, guidance, and potential career prospects.

“Scholarships, especially those designed for Indigenous students like myself, play a crucial role in higher education by promoting equality, acknowledging Indigenous contributions, supporting cultural diversity and investing in the development of future leaders.”

University of Newcastle Executive Director, Advancement, Rebecca Hazell said the University was grateful for the support from Squadron Energy to encourage and support students through their educational journey.

“Equity in education access is vital. Scholarships like this have a huge impact, making a difference to those who need financial support for their studies. It is a life changing opportunity,” Ms Hazell said.

First Nations Students are eligible for the scholarship if they are enrolled full-time in an undergraduate program with the University of Newcastle.

Successful candidates receive $5,000 during their first semester to contribute to living and study costs. 


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