Recent nursing graduate Shania Falls has wanted to be a nurse since she was ten years old, a dream made possible thanks to a scholarship from Woolnorth Renewables.

The scholarship, delivered through the University of Tasmania Springboard to Higher Education Bursary Program, provided Shania with financial support through college and her nursing degree.

It allowed her to purchase a laptop, printer, textbooks and her nursing uniform.

“And now I’m here,” Shania said, speaking of beginning her nursing career.

Raised in Scottsdale and Winnaleah in northern Tasmania, Shania graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing in December and has already been offered employment – a permanent position in the Launceston General orthopaedic ward.

In future, she hopes to work in oncology.

“I had personal experience with oncology with both my grandmother and great-grandfather having had cancer,” Shania said.

“It makes it easier to care for the patient and the family if you’ve had that experience.”

Shania said the bursary provided an incentive to continue her studies even though difficult times arose. Sadly, Shania lost her grandmother to cancer during her studies, but her grandmother’s encouragement lives on.

“My gran said you’re going to be a great nurse,” she said.

Fellow nursing graduate and Woolnorth bursary recipient Abbie Davison, born and raised in Smithton in Tasmania’s north west, found work straight out of her degree as a community in-home carer through the Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation.

Abbie has since started work as a registered nurse on the surgical ward at the North-West Regional Hospital in Burnie.

Like Shania, Abbie said the bursary assisted her to purchase items such as uniforms and textbooks, as well as with travel costs between Smithton and Launceston, three hours away, where she completed her training.

“It allowed me to focus on my studies and learning without thinking and stressing about some of the costs associated with university,” Abbie said.

Having grown up in a regional town, Abbie looks forward to one day returning to Smithton to work in the Smithton District Hospital. She hopes to also gain experience travelling around Australia working in rural and regional areas.

Woolnorth Renewables has been supporting the University’s Springboard to Higher Education Bursary Program since 2013, providing funding to 37 Tasmanian college students commencing Year 11 with ongoing support available for those continuing on to tertiary studies.

The company has increased its support to students to $165,000 over the 2020-2025 period.

Each recipient will receive $1000 a year for Years 11 and 12 and then $3000 a year for up to four years of a University of Tasmania degree.

Woolnorth Resources General Manager Stephen Ross said the company aimed to help the people living in communities near its wind farms at Woolnorth in the north west and Musselroe Bay in the north east.

“We hope that the bursaries provide support and encouragement to students to encourage them to pursue the goal of achieving tertiary qualifications in whatever field of study excites them,” Mr Ross said.

“Their achievements will provide strong and positive role models to students in their high schools that will contribute to communities and families into the future.”

The University of Tasmania Springboard to Higher Education Bursary Program commenced in 2002 as an initiative of the University Foundation.

The program seeks to redress the significant levels of educational disadvantage amongst rural and urban young people in Tasmania. It aims to encourage recipients into senior secondary school in the first instance and then into tertiary study.