Resthaven scholarship backs ‘silent success story’ of Indigenous education

Aboriginal and Indigenous students will receive significant support to develop life-changing and community impacting skills and experiences at Flinders University thanks to a new scholarship established by Resthaven, a community and residential aged care provider.

Richard Hearn, CEO of Resthaven, was at Flinders’ Bedford Park Campus on Wednesday (9 March), where he said the scholarship was an important part of Resthaven’s work to promote the important work being done in aged care while also empowering Aboriginal and Indigenous Australians in higher education.

Resthaven has established an endowed fund to provide an ongoing university wide scholarship, supporting 2 indigenous students for $2,500 per annum for two years. It can be applied for by Indigenous students who through their study at Flinders demonstrate a commitment to the needs of older Australians.

“At the time of our 75th anniversary in 2010, we decided to ask our board to make a contribution towards helping the community to see aged care as good work and something worthwhile,” said Mr Hearn.

“We looked at a number of opportunities, including research and scholarships, and as part of that we saw great merit in recognising and supporting people with Indigenous and Aboriginal backgrounds to make a difference to their own lives and within their communities.”

Wendy Morey, Executive Manager, Workforce Development and Governance at Resthaven, said the new scholarship was part of a long relationship between Resthaven and Flinders that included funding a PhD student, postgraduate scholarships, placements for current students, and even jobs for Flinders graduates.

“We have been strong supporters of Flinders’ ‘Ageing in a Foreign Land’ conference, have a facilitator who manages Flinders nursing students’ experiences when they are on placement, and have funded a PhD researcher researching disaster management and the impacts of disasters on older people living in the community,” said Ms Morey.

“This new scholarship, which empowers Aboriginal and Indigenous students to continue in higher education, adds to that fruitful and productive engagement.”

Professor Daryle Rigney, Dean of Indigenous Strategy and Engagement at Flinders, said the scholarship would support the continuing “silent success story” of Indigenous higher education.

“Since the 1980s we have seen Indigenous students establish themselves in every area of the caring professions, and this scholarship supports that,” said Professor Rigney.

“Often our students are the first in family to go to university, and we all know the social statistics, so this kind of support can be the difference between them continuing in education or not. This is particularly true for students who do not have support networks in Adelaide.

“This Resthaven scholarship will provide a brilliant mechanism for students to carry on with their studies and help them to make a broader contribution to society.”

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