The Mount Gambier and District Tertiary Health Education Grant program will provide up to 12 financial grants to local students undertaking tertiary studies in 2021 within the health field and is now open for applications. The program supports City of Mount Gambier and District Council of Grant residents who are required to leave the region to undertake university studies in health skills shortage areas within the community.
The program provides local students with a $2000 grant to support them to complete their tertiary studies within the health field.
“We provide these grants to students to encourage them to return to our region once they are qualified, if they are able to,” Mount Gambier and District Tertiary Health Education Grants Program Chairman Rodney Summers said.
“The grants are available for those students commencing or continuing university studies in identified skills shortage areas such as medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, allied health, chiropractic, midwifery, psychology, paramedicine and mental health nursing.”
The grants can be used for a broad range of student needs including university fees, medical uniforms, equipment, books, travel and living expenses.
2020 grant recipient Mitchell Hunter said the financial support he received assisted him to meet the costs associated with his first year of study at Flinders University.
“I am studying a Bachelor of Paramedic Science and hope to become a paramedic. There are a lot of financial outlays associated with the course such as a uniform and placement costs and the grant enabled me to buy my own stethoscope,” Mitch said.
“I am so grateful that I was awarded this grant, it really makes a big difference as there are a lot of costs involved with degrees in the health area. I’d encourage anyone thinking about tertiary study in the health area to apply.”
The 20-year-old will complete his studies in 2022 and plans to return to the area to live and work in the long term.
“I know quite a few paramedics in Mount Gambier and many of them are the reason I decided to pursue this career path. If I was given the opportunity I’d love to come back, that’s the goal.”
“I also play for the West Adelaide Basketball team and it would be great to return to Mount Gambier and play for the Pioneers,” Mitch said.
Child and Family Clinical Nurse Sarah Riddoch began studying a Graduate Certificate of Wound Ostomy and Continence Practice through Curtin University in Perth in 2020 with assistance from the Tertiary Health Education Grant.
“The grant assisted with the costs associated with travel to Perth, support with accommodation to undertake on campus commitments as well as the extended clinical experience requirements at the nearest Colorectal Unit in Adelaide,” Sarah said.
I am incredibly grateful for the support, it is a huge relief to have a bit of money behind you as it really takes some of the financial pressure off.
– Sarah Riddoch
Sarah is passionate about advanced nursing practice in rural and remote areas to better improve the medical outcomes of regional patients.
“There are over 200 registered ostomy patients within the South East with stomers and while we do have access to some support locally, people are still travelling to Adelaide for treatment.”
Despite being delayed due to COVID-19, Sarah will complete her final placement for the qualification in the next few months.
“Once completed, I hope to provide hands on care to clients who require emotional support with massive lifestyle changes as an Ostomy, Wound and Continence Nurse,” she said.
The grant program has provided support to local young people to formally train as health specialists since 2007. It is supported by City of Mount Gambier, District Council of Grant, UFS Chemist, Flinders Rural Health SA, Mount Gambier and District Community Bank, Rotary Club of Mount Gambier Lakes, John and Helen Kentish and Ken and Carol Stafford.
“Over the past 15 years the program has provided 148 grants to students at a total cost of $296,000,” Rodney said.
“We are always looking for additional financial contributors to the program so that we are able to provide support for 12 local students each year.”
View the eligibility criteria and application form here.
Applications close Wednesday 31 March 2021.