Rural students receive scholarship support

Apr 26, 2024 | Column

Six students from remote and regional areas of SA will have financial support to continue their studies, after Primary Producers SA awarded $15,000, on behalf of the EW Stevens Trust.

The grants are designed to help relieve pressure on regional families in difficult financial circumstances by providing support to meet the costs of education.

The well-documented cost of living crisis Australia is experiencing means this kind of rural philanthropy is much needed.

PPSA as an organisation is proud to be able to provide opportunities through the Trust to help students in rural and regional SA pursue further education, as it aligns with our core values.

Six students from areas including the South East, Mid North and Riverland secured up to $2500 each to help them cover essential study costs.

The successful applicants include a Riverland youth passionate about the shearing industry, an 18-year-old from Tumby Bay studying occupational therapy, and a 20-year-old from Neales Flat, near Eudunda, who is studying psychology and passionate about promoting positive mental health, particularly in farming communities.

When selecting the successful applicants, consideration was given to a range of areas, including their future career goals and aspirations, their commitment to support rural and regional SA and whether the student had any ties to primary production.

The EW Stevens Trust is a key vehicle to address some of the inequity faced by students living in regional SA, allowing them to access education opportunities and recognising the higher cost of living away from home.

Being the custodian of the EW Stevens Memorial Trust aligns with some of PPSA’s key platforms, including Regional Development and Building Skills and Capacity.

PPSA is committed to ensuring that future workforce needs of the primary production sector will be met by promoting career opportunities from primary school through to post-graduate study in agriculture to the community.

We are also focused on ensuring current and emerging leaders in agriculture are equipped with the necessary skills, networks, and motivation to contribute to the advancement of the South Australian primary production sector.

We know regional communities are the economic and social fabric of our state, so to give members of these communities the chance to further themselves and feed back into those communities is important.

Without vibrant regional communities, the primary industry sector cannot sustain its position as SA’s major exporter and an employer of one in five South Australians.

The fund was originally established at the request of former builder, the late Earnest William Stevens, from the Fleurieu Peninsula, who provided funding for the scholarship in his will.

His aim was to assist students in rural and regional areas who wanted to further their education but were unable to do so due to their financial circumstances.

The funding can be used to meet a range of costs, including a contribution towards school fees, books or other course materials, uniforms, board and accommodation, IT equipment, undertaking a study tour or travel costs to return home from study.

Primary Producers SA is responsible for appointing a Board of Trustees to select the recipient or recipients annually.

The EW Stevens Trust Board of Trustees look forward to opening applications again later this year for award in early 2025.

This column was written by PPSA Chair Professor Simon Maddocks and originally appeared in the 25 April 2024 edition of Stock Journal.

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