The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says the Toloa Tertiary Scholarships which aims to encourage more Pacific student numbers participating and pursuing STEM-related studies in 2021, are now open.
“These tertiary scholarships are administrated by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP), and are part of MPP’s overall Toloa programme where we are supporting Pacific communities and providers to deliver targeted Pacific programmes and workshops to increase interest and encourage greater participation in STEM subjects right across Pacific communities, including at the ECE, primary, intermediate and secondary school levels,” says Aupito William Sio.
“With Pacific people making up only 2% of the Pacific workforce involved in STEM careers, the Government recognises the need to have more Pacific people in these fields so that they too can have security and confidence in the future of work.
“Anyone that’s doing forecasting on the future of work will tell you that technology and automation will have a huge impact on existing jobs, and we’ve got to work fast to ensure that we increase the number of graduates exiting with STEM related qualifications to respond to the growing demand from the Tech Industry.
“The Toloa Programme encourages Pacific young people to explore STEM studies in response to the beckoning call from the science and technology focused sector of the New Zealand economy. The programme is a key component in building their awareness and confidence to be leaders in the high-tech sectors of Aotearoa and the world.
Budget 2020, through the Pacific response package, provides funding for a range of Pacific focused initiatives as part of the COVID-19 recovery and includes $4.9 million for the Toloa programme.
“With the increased funding allocated in Budget 2020 this year, the Toloa Tertiary Scholarship Fund will double the number of scholarships offered providing 50 scholarships at $10,000 per academic year for outstanding undergraduate and postgraduate Pacific students who are pursuing STEM related studies in 2021.
Over the past five years, the Ministry has supported 46 young Pacific people into STEM related careers and it’s important to continue with this momentum as we focus on the future growth areas in STEM industries.
“I want to see the Pacific communities of Aotearoa prepare themselves and engage with STEM for the sake of achieving a thriving and prosperous Pacific Aotearoa. The Toloa Tertiary Scholarships provide opportunities to our Pacific young people to succeed and increase their representation in the STEM sectors, supporting them as they work to achieve their life’s goals,” says Aupito William Sio.
Scholarship applications are open from today until Friday 23 October.