Advance Queensland Indigenous Pathways VET Scholarship Program scholar’s give thanks

After being awarded an Advance Queensland Indigenous Pathways VET Scholarship in Term 1 2020, we hear from Tayla, John, Maree, Siobahn and Rebecca on the impact their scholarship is having on their education, plans for the future and pass on their thanks and gratitude to their generous scholarship donor, Advance Queensland and the Department of Innovation, Queensland Government. With Term 2 scholarships now open (many closing 12 June), all scholars share some great advice for other students thinking about applying.

TAYLA GREENALSH, Diploma of Nursing, Rockhampton

My name is Tayla Greenalsh from North Rockhampton. I am studying a Diploma of Nursing at CQUniversity. Having been born in Rockhampton 26 years ago, my family and myself are proud First Nations people from the Iman clan. 

The decision to begin university was not an easy one.  I have struggled for many years with anxiety and depression and could never imagine myself being intelligent enough to undertake any tertiary courses let alone study in the field of healthcare. This mindset changed about a year ago after many conversations with my mother, partner and close friends about what I wanted out of life. My mother was the first person in her family to obtain a degree and she is my inspiration.  I always had a dream of helping people much like my mother who has been a Social Worker for over a decade.

I wanted to pursue my desire for hands on tasks and my love for the understanding and functioning of the human body. I took a leap of faith and applied for the Diploma of Nursing. This was an anxious time as I was unsure if I would be accepted as I had finished high school a decade ago and knew it was a popular course. The day that I received my acceptance email, I cried with happiness, excitement and nervousness. Nevertheless, I have not looked back since the journey has started.

I started Term 1 In February 2020.  This was an exciting time as I chose to complete my studies on campus.  It meant attending university from 8:30 am till 3:00 pm, three days a week. The hands-on approach of the on-campus learning suits my learning style, therefore adjusting to the online studies due to COVID-19 has been somewhat challenging, however the change has been made easier with the support of my fellow students and lecturers.

I was fortunate enough to receive the Advance Queensland Indigenous Pathways VET Scholarship which has helped immensely with my study preparation. It has allowed me to buy medical equipment such as a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff and uniforms to help me complete my practical studies. The scholarship has also allowed me to purchase a desk and study items to help me complete assessments and study at home which has been ideal in this period of social distancing.

I feel that without this scholarship, my learning would have been compromised and I would not have been able to learn as efficiently as I am now. My appreciation to the Department of Innovation to provide this scholarship is undeniable and I believe that opportunities like this allow students to commence and complete their studies with the best possible outcomes, giving hope and assurance that they can apply themselves to whatever they desire to achieve.

‘I would recommend that every future and current student who is eligible to apply for scholarships, do so.  The application process itself reinforces why one is motivated to complete their study and what importance it holds to them. It also gives one a chance to allow oneself to achieve the best outcome as the potential financial burden when studying can be overwhelming.  It was for me and became a major factor when I decided to study.’

 I am very excited to complete my studies and to become an Enrolled Nurse and help our community as we all move forward from the COVID 19 pandemic.

JOHN SWAIN, Certificate III in Conservation Land Management, Rockhampton City

My name is John Swain and I live in Rockhampton, Central Queensland.

My connection to land has always been important to me. Having experience volunteering in national parks, I thought ‘I can do this!’ It was time for me to give it a go for myself and my family.

I applied for and was accepted to study Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management. Being a mature age student and making the transition from full time employment as a construction worker to student at CQUniversity was always going to be a challenge for me.

Receiving the Advance Queensland Indigenous Pathways VET Scholarship has been very beneficial to my education. I was able to purchase a home computer, desk and stationery. The financial assistance has allowed me to study from home, without having to commute to campus. With the current COVID-19 social distancing laws, having the ability to continue my studies, attend online classes and access online resources has been invaluable for me to stay involved, stay connected to my teacher and classmates and stay safe.

‘I am very grateful for the opportunity the Department of Innovation has allowed me. Being able to access this support has not only helped me financially, but more importantly developed a confidence that I can achieve my goal of becoming a National Park Ranger.’

I encourage Indigenous people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue their dreams. With this help and support, anything can be achieved, and we can be part of something constructive for all communities.

MAREE DAYLIGHT, Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping, Rockhampton City

My name is Maree Daylight, I am currently studying a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping. I am an Aboriginal woman living in Gladstone, where I have lived all my life. I work for Nhulundu Health Service in an Administrative position – Nhulundu is an Indigenous Health Centre that provides medical care/services across the Gladstone region. What inspires me to achieve my goals is wanting to upskill and develop my skills and be a role model in my community.

I am very fortunate to still have a job and have started working from home. At first it was a bit tough to adjust to the restrictions put in place due to COVID-19 and adapt to working from home. Working from home has allowed me to have a bit more time to work on my studies as there are a limited number of jobs that can be completed from home.

‘I am very thankful to the Department of Innovation for choosing me for the Advance Queensland Indigenous Pathways Scholarship Program. This scholarship has been a massive help in providing funds to assist with achieving my educational objectives, providing financial assistance towards the cost of a laptop, the units and resources required to support my study, such as cost of office supplies and textbooks.’

I would definitely encourage other students to apply for a scholarship as there are many benefits. Scholarships are important as they provide assistance to students who may not be able to afford an education. Without an external source, students may have difficulty affording costs associated with receiving a degree, such as unit costs, text books and laptops. For me, it was such a relief to receive the scholarship and to not have to worry about the costs – without dipping into the little savings I do have for emergencies.

I’m so thankful to the Department of Innovation for assisting me with my Certificate.

SIOBAHN MORGAN, Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management

My name is Siobahn Atima Morgan and I am a Yidinji woman living on my ancestral lands in the Goldsborough Valley rainforest of far north Queensland, right at the entrance of World Heritage Area Rainforest. My purpose in this life is to guard this land with my life, so I am studying the Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management to equip myself with the knowledge and skills to become an Indigenous Guardian of the Rainforest.

There isn’t any single individual with the ability to motivate me to achieve my goals because I am very self-reliant. I am the only person who can influence myself, so I have a book I made of mantras, pictures and quotes that I read to myself and remind myself why I am doing this. Altruism is a message I received for my life’s purpose years ago. I gave up any idea of a selfish life because my life is not my own and I honestly have no selfish desires for just myself, alone. Everything I do is for a bigger vision, something beyond myself.

To overcome barriers during COVID-19, I have asked my teacher to provide printed copies of all my learning materials, as I don’t have internet or a printer at home and would like to not have to travel into town or go to the public library during this global health crisis. There isn’t much else I need to adjust during this time, as my course is external mode.   

I am so thankful to have been granted the Advance Queensland Indigenous Pathways VET Scholarship, without which I would not have been able to service, re-register and get new tyres for my only vehicle, purchase a new laptop or a smartphone. I was able to purchase these items, which I need for study, with the scholarship.

I am incredibly grateful to the Department of Innovation for enabling students like myself to participate in advancing education for Queenslanders. I hope that the Department continues to bestow its generosity to the Indigenous students who wish to continue their studies with a VET qualification.

‘Scholarships like the Advance Queensland Indigenous Pathways VET Scholarship are so important because some people do not have financial stability or equality, so people like me are generally deterred from pursuing tertiary education simply because we cannot afford the costs of study and living.’

I would 100% recommend that any Indigenous student studying a VET qualification at CQUniversity apply for the Advance Queensland Indigenous Pathways VET Scholarship. The Scholarship has helped me so much and enabled me to continue studying.

REBECCA WILLIAMS, Certificate III in Visual Arts, Online

I am currently studying a Certificate 111 in Visual Arts through CQUniversity via online mode. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic this is ideal, as I am feeling grateful to not have to adapt my studies due to already studying online before COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia. It certainly is a trying time for many on-campus students as they have had to change and adapt to online mode of study. However, I would encourage students to look at the positives of studying online rather than the negatives. For example, more time to study due to travelling less possibly for some students.  

Being a recipient of the Advance Queensland Indigenous Pathways Scholarship Program in Term 1 2020 has certainly allowed me to up skill my current teaching career in a new area of study that I am passionate about. Without the support, the opportunity to continue learning and growing would not have been possible, so for this reason I am grateful.  The scholarship has enabled me to flexibly balance work, study and life without the stress factor of course fees and required equipment/material costs, which is what the scholarship for me personally is covering.

Furthermore, I would like to express how grateful and appreciative I am for receiving the support during my studies, so thankyou to the Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, it is truly appreciated.

‘I believe everyone’s career endeavors and situations are different and as we are aware, things are forever changing, so being able to apply and possibly receive support from scholarships such as the Advance Queensland Indigenous Pathways Scholarship Program is life-changing and allows people to begin new positive journeys.

I would certainly encourage CQUniversity students to take the time to apply, as one small effort in applying may lead to a better future.

The CQUniCares Scholarship program changes lives and CQUni is grateful to partner with Advance Queensland and the Department of Innovation, Queensland Government who share the University’s passion for making a difference in the lives of our students, their families and our communities.

With applications now open for Term 2 scholarship (many closing 12 June), CQUni students are encouraged to discover the many generous donor, Government and CQUniversity-funded scholarships on offer at

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