The Western Australian Minister for Education Liz Constable yesterday announced a three-year extension to the State Government’s Pilbara Education Partnership with BHP Billiton Iron Ore.
The Government will inject a further $3 million into the program over the next three years, taking the total investment since its inception in 2005 to more than $11 million.
The program was established to support existing schools and institutions in the Pilbara mining centres of Newman and Port Hedland.
“The positive outcomes of the Pilbara Education Partnership to date are extremely encouraging and the Government looks forward to a continued collaboration with BHP and the schools,” Constable said.
According to the Government, the Partnership actually allocates funding to 22 individual programs in both towns.
Some of the more successful programs have been the Hedland Senior High School Quarter Midgets Program and the Sister Schooling Programs.
In the Quarter Midgets Program, students build and race quarter midget cars in order to gain nationally recognised trade qualifications.
This project has had an 88% attendance rate overall.
The Sister Schooling Programs employs video conferencing technology and school visits to foster relations between Pilbara schools and their counterparts in Perth.
Student teachers have also received funding to complete their final term practicum placements in the Pilbara.
According to the Government, more student teachers are now requesting permanent placement in the Pilbara when they graduate.
“We believe strong education systems are fundamental to sustainable communities,” said BHP Billiton Iron Ore vice president Carl Binning.
“The Partnership supports a diverse mix of programs such as mechanics, dance, music or mining, there is something for everyone.
“BHP Billiton Iron Ore is proud to back the institutions of Newman and Port Hedland and support students to achieve their best.”