Vocational training has been made easier for three TAFE Gippsland students, with the Sale campus pupils among the first to receive scholarships through Esso’s latest round of funding.

TAFE Gippsland Chief Executive Laura Macpherson officially announced Esso’s $300,000 contribution to TAFE Gippsland at the Port of Sale campus on Wednesday, October 11.

“It is my pleasure to be here today with members of our TAFE (Gippsland) board chair Paul Buckley, our TAFE Gippsland team, and ExxonMobil Australia to launch the Esso Wellington Scholarships for TAFE Gippsland students,” Ms Macpherson said.

“We are today acknowledging the generous support of Esso in providing $300,000 to TAFE Gippsland to allocate scholarships over the next 10 years.

“These scholarships will be available to students who live or work in the Wellington Shire and study in Sale.

“The scholarships can be used for costs such as travel, placement, accommodation, payment of fees or purchase of equipment such as tools or laptops.”

TAFE Gippsland Chief Executive Laura Macpherson. Photos: Zoe Askew

Available to current TAFE Gippsland students and those applying to study at TAFE Gippsland, Ms Macpherson hopes the latest round of Esso Wellington Scholarships will further incentivise those contemplating taking the step into vocational training.

“TAFE Gippsland has been delivering learning training solutions for energy providers of Gippsland for many years and are now at the forefront of supporting industry transition as we look to new energy technologies,” Ms Macpherson said.

“Our vision here at TAFE Gippsland is to fuel a thriving Gippsland, and these scholarships play a really important role in assisting us to achieve this vision, providing opportunities to fund students who may have thought vocational training was out of their reach.

“The partnership with ExxonMobil is an important one for TAFE Gippsland and our community, and we are really proud to be here offering these scholarships to our students, both current and over the next 10 years.”

ExxonMobil Australia Chiar Dylan Pugh said community engagement and developing relationships with the community are among the corporation’s core values.

“Gippsland has an enduring connection to the energy industry, and as a proud member of the community for over 50 years, we are eager to boost the educational development of the many highly-skilled workers in the Wellington Shire,” Mr Pugh said.

“This scholarship program will allow the local community to re-skill for a secure and rewarding job in in-demand areas.

“Building strong and effective community relationships is an essential element to our business, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to partner with TAFE Gippsland’s new Port of Sale campus to support the local community.”

Chair of ExxonMobil Australia Dylan Pugh. Photos: Zoe Askew

Donna Rogerson, Devecha Herridge and Darcy Hair are the first to benefit from TAFE Gippsland’s continued partnership with Esso, with the three Sale-based students receiving Esso Wellington Scholarships following the program’s extension.

Esso Wellington Scholarship recipients Devecha Herridge and Darcy Hair are both studying Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFE Gippsland’s Port of Sale campus.

“I’ve always wanted to get into taking care of kids and help them grow and give them a safe environment,” Devecha said.

“I want to work in child protective services eventually, so that is another part of the reason why I got into it.”

Having always maintained an interest in care work, Darcy contemplated other courses such as aged care or disability care before enrolling into Early Childhood Education and Care.

“I decided on doing this course because I always thought all different kinds of care work were interesting,” Darcy said.

“It was either this or aged care or disability, and I thought if I was going to study any of them, I should start at the start of life, and I can go wherever I want from there.

“But I am surprised by how much I am enjoying the course.”

ExxonMobil Australia chairman Dylan Pugh, one of the three TAFE Gippsland students to receive an Esso Wellington Scholarship, Darcy Hair, TAFE Gippsland board chair Paul Buckley and TAFE Gippsland Chief Executive Laura Macpherson.

Almost every student, tertiary or vocational, is always thinking about money as balancing study and work is a delicate and often tricky task, which can tip quickly.

Work too much; you fall behind in your studies. Don’t work enough; you fall short in making ends meet.

For Devecha and Darcy, receiving Esso Wellington Scholarships has lifted a weight off their shoulders, reducing the financial pressures associated with vocational and tertiary study and, in turn, creating more room to focus on their education.

“The fact that I am here studying means I’m not working; I’ve had to cut down on all my hours to be able to be here three days a week, so having something to help cover the cost of that is really good, really helpful,” Darcy said.

For Devecha, living independently significantly contributed to her applying for the scholarship.

“I have rent and bills on top of TAFE fees, so I thought it would be really handy to have some assistance with that,” Devecha said.

“I think the scholarship will help a lot.”