BHP funds Indigenous scholarship

BHP is funding the CSIRO's new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STEM education program.

The program, launched today at Parliament House, will see BHP provide $28.8 million over five years to provide science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs and scholarships.

CSIRO head Megan Clark said the program will support students from primary school through to tertiary education.

"Our partnership with BHP Billiton will enhance and expand our education programs to reach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from across Australia. We are really excited about this opportunity to reach so many new students, and get them excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics," Clark said.

BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie added that this latest initiative builds on the miner's 33 year partnership with CSIRO.

"BHP Billiton believes that providing opportunities in STEM education is a powerful way to support the professional aspirations and career opportunities of a generation of young Aboriginal Australians," Mackenzie said.

"We hope the program encourages more Aboriginal students to consider a rewarding career in the STEM disciplines, which will go some way to further closing the gap and recognising the important contribution Aboriginal Australians make to the economy.

"This latest long-term partnership commitment between CSIRO and BHP Billiton is aligned not only to the Foundation's focus on STEM education but also the company's commitment to provide tangible opportunities that support Aboriginal peoples with education, training, employment and business development."

The six key elements of the program are 'Science Pathways for Indigenous Communities' which target primary and middle school students in remote communities; 'Inquiry for Indigenous Science Students' which focuses on metropolitan students; 'Counting Futures' which improves maths; an Aboriginal Summer School for 'Excellence in Technology and Science'; awards to recognise and raise the profile of ATSI students; and support in the Bachelor of Science (extended) degree which provides support for students doing a science degree.

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