Mining sector digs deep to support students
The next generation of South Australian mining engineers won't graduate from the University of Adelaide for at least another three years, but that hasn't stopped the mining sector from already taking a strong interest in the students' futures.
The University recently held a celebration to thank mining companies and the State Government for their support in providing a large number of scholarships to the first intake of Mining Engineering students.
The scholarships, totalling $1,275,000, have been received by 56 students who began their studies in the brand new Mining Engineering degree this year - the most scholarships for any degree program in the University's 133-year history.
More than 40 of these scholarships have been funded thanks to generous contributions by 17 mining sector companies, as well as one private individual and the State Government through Primary Industries & Resources SA (PIRSA). A further 15 scholarships have been funded by the University itself.
"This is an unprecedented level of support from industry, government and the University for one degree program," said Professor Peter Dowd, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences.
"It demonstrates the importance of the mining industry to South Australia, and underlines our commitment to the future of the resources industries through quality education and research," he said.
"Scholarships are known to make a big difference to the quality of students' educational experience, because they help to take the financial pressure off students, enabling them to concentrate more on their studies.
"However, the industry support for this degree program doesn't end with scholarships.
"Many of the students will be offered paid holiday employment by the companies that have provided the scholarships, creating an even closer link with industry. This will be invaluable experience for our students, and will provide them with all-important industry contacts for future career opportunities."
The University's new Mining Engineering degree program has been a huge success in its first year, recruiting 56 students - almost twice as many as expected.
"The level of support from industry and other sources, and the overwhelming interest from students, is a clear indication that our Mining Engineering degree program will achieve great benefits for industry and the community," Professor Dowd said.
Professor Dowd said the new degree was the first step in a strategy to establish a world-leading Centre for Minerals and Energy Resources at the University of Adelaide.
"The Centre will consolidate the University's expertise in exploration, geology, mining engineering, petroleum and gas engineering, geothermal energy, mineral economics, resource estimation, and the social and economic aspects of mining operations.
"In collaboration with local, national and international institutions, the centre will provide a unique, inter-disciplinary systems approach to deliver the full range of education and research support that will underpin the minerals and energy resources sectors of the State and the nation," he said.
Story by David Ellis
Scholarships have been provided by:
Oxiana Prominent Hill
The University of Adelaide