The Mount Gambier and District Tertiary Health Education Grant program will provide 12 subsidies to local health students in 2018. The program supports city or district residents who need to leave the region to undertake university studies in identified health skill shortage areas required within the community.
The program is in its 12th year and provides local students with a $2000 grant to help complete their tertiary studies within the health field.
“It’s important that we have enough trained health specialists in all areas and we hope that grant recipients will return to the region following their graduation to boost the number of health professionals in the South East,” Mount Gambier and District Tertiary Health Education Grant Committee Chairperson Ken Stafford said.
Former grant recipient Sam Sinclair is currently completing the Honours program in Psychology through the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales.
“As part of my study, I have to attend mandatory intensives at the campus in Armidale. There’s quite a cost involved in attending week long intensives, and there are three of them over two years,” Mr Sinclair said.
The 28 year old used his tertiary health education grant to assist with travel costs for study.
“I would have had to have chosen between travelling to Mackay to go to my sister’s wedding last year, or go to intensive school, so the grant meant that I could do both,” he said.
Mr Sinclair is currently employed as Accommodation Services Manager at Disability Services where he oversees all aspects of care provided to clients living in supported accommodation.
“My studies help me to manage staff from an organisational perspective, manage the change process and help me to guide my team of supervisors to work effectively with clients.”
Mr Sinclair is currently studying the psychological characteristics of the long term unemployed as part of his thesis work and will complete his honours by the end of the year. He then hopes to go on and complete a Master of Clinical Psychology.
“At the intensive in February, I’ll be putting my thesis proposal to the ethics committee. I’m looking at self-efficacy in the unemployed, comparing the long term unemployed to a comparison group of employed,” he said.
Once he has completed his study, he plans to practice in the local community and encourages other students to consider applying for a tertiary health education grant.
“I’d really encourage other students to apply, the study that it has helped me to complete is life changing, and it has really helped with my work and my personal development.”
Grants can be applied to a broad range of student needs including university fees, medical uniforms, and equipment, books, IT equipment, travel and living expenses.
The grant program is supported by City of Mount Gambier, District Council of Grant, Ken and Carol Stafford, UFS Chemist, Flinders Rural Health SA, Mount Gambier and District Community Bank, Rotary Club of Mount Gambier Lakes and private benefactors John and Helen Kentish.
“Over the past 11 years, the program has provided 121 grants to students at a total cost of $242,000.
We are always looking for additional financial contributors to the program so that we can try and keep the number of grants up between 12 and 15 each year,” Mr Stafford said.