September 07, 2017
Alcoa Uni Alumni Help Students Aspire to Tertiary Education
Six Alcoa employees were on hand recently to offer high school students insights into their academic and professional journeys as part of the Aspire UWA program throughout July and August.
Alcoa Foundation is a major contributor to the program run by the University of Western Australia (UWA), which encourages students to consider the opportunities and careers that university education can provide. Year 11 students from the Peel Region joined Perth metropolitan students at the overnight camps.
Mandurah Baptist College students thanked camp organisers for the once-in-a-lifetime experience, which helped break down their journey from high school to university and into a career.
“To us, it definitely confirmed that university is the way we want to go and strengthened our drive towards it. Hearing real experiences of people just like us also makes university a lot less intimidating,” the group said.
UWA graduate and Alcoa Residue Operations and Maintenance Manager Matthew Cox was part of the Industry Panel at the camp, sharing his experiences completing a STEM degree and later working in the resources industry.
“I spoke about why I decided to to undertake a science degree, how I balanced study and personal commitments and what study techniques I found most helpful,” he said.
“I was impressed with the way the students recognised that factors such as finding a group of friends to help them adjust and succeed at university was as important as focussing on the result of getting a degree and finding work.”
Elisa McGowan oversees the Aspire UWA program, and explains that the overnight camps make a noticeable difference to the students that attend.
“You see the students make the connection between school and the wide range of opportunities that are in front of them. Hearing the different perspectives from the Industry Panel really reinforces this, and illustrates to the students how many doors a university degree can open,” Elisa said.
Since Alcoa became involved in 2016, the program has expanded into the Peel Region with more than 5400 students from areas close to Alcoa’s operations taking part.