“I grew up in Ingham, a small far-north Queensland town in the Hinchinbrook region. I always loved to be outdoors, taking any opportunity to be out on the boat or playing soccer and basketball with mates. I thoroughly enjoyed school for both the classes and the friends I made, as well as extracurriculars like maths and engineering camps.
When my mum passed, my loving grandparents put aside their plans to adopt me and my younger sister into their home. I cannot thank them enough. Without them the transition would have been tougher, if not impossible.
I always enjoyed learning how things worked, building and creating. And I always knew I wanted to continue studying to further my qualifications as well as follow my passion for engineering.
Being accepted into university was gratifying. I pushed myself to get good grades – countless hours studying definitely paid off when the offer came through. I knew my mum and family wanted me to achieve. She always knew my potential.
The full university experience
I moved to Brisbane to study a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at the University of Queensland. I applied for the Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship Program so I’d be able to partake in any opportunities that arose – for example travelling to Western Australia to attend work placements.
University was a shock to the system at first. Understanding how to manage anything life threw at me without sacrificing grades or goals was my focus. And I gained about 10 kilos from the good college food! I enjoyed all of my mining courses, everyone knew each other and the lecturers gave interactive and personalised lessons.
I lived at a college which gave me many opportunities outside of studying: constant sports events and casual soccer and basketball games, events and balls throughout the semester – if study allowed there’d never be an empty weekend!
During my degree I was able to do three summer work placements around Australia, from the Pilbara in WA to Brisbane CBD. I worked with experienced engineers, learning their procedures and how they approach problems, and was given responsibilities and projects of my own.
Nathan’s new engineering job
I underwent a multi-stage interview for a position with Glencore: first a recorded presentation, cognitive and behavioural testing, virtual interviews with the hiring leads and other engineers, then finally a group exercise where I was introduced to other grads and assessed for teamwork and leadership skills. It was a nervous few weeks, especially due to job market pressures created by COVID-19.
I accepted an offer from Glencore starting after graduation – I’ll be a Graduate Mining Engineer stationed in Mount Isa.
When the job offer came I was overjoyed and relieved. I immediately called my family to tell them the good news, especially my grandma who’s always pushed me, as well as friends, and colleagues who’ve given me advice and support. Unfortunately I was given the offer around exam time so no major celebrations could be held – but I’m definitely taking a rain check!
The job is full time in Mount Isa. Coming from a smaller region a part of me is looking forward to moving back to a smaller town, and moving closer to my family after completing my degree. Hopefully I’ll make some new friends, and organise a share house for my two year graduate program.
Nathan says thank you
Thanks to the scholarship I was able to relocate to Brisbane to study a course I would not have been able to back home. I was able to live at college where I made many friends, and pay for countless ‘hidden costs’ of attending uni and living away from family. I was able to partake in work placements provided by potential hiring companies, and develop practical skills that are highly sought after. I am very grateful for the scholarship, and the donors that made it possible.
Without the opportunities the Foundation was able to provide, without being able to partake in internships, and without the ease of mind that allowed me to focus on my studies I could have taken a very different path. I’m looking forward to starting my role and continuing to grow in a professional setting, as well as thinking about what I can do to help others, just as the Foundation helped me.
If anyone reading this is thinking about applying for this scholarship I strongly recommend you do. Financial limitations that stop you studying shouldn’t happen to anyone.”
Help us change lives with a tertiary scholarship
A tertiary scholarship from the Sisters of Charity Foundation has the power to transform the life of a young person. You can donate to our Tertiary Scholarship Program here, and help a young person who grew up in out-of-home care reach their full potential.
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