August 22, 2019

Peel students explore university entry with UWA Aspire

Wanting to share his passion for science and support students at a critical time in their career journey is why Alcoa employee Richard Yeates has volunteered at university discovery sessions for Peel students conducted by not-for-profit group Aspire UWA recently.

August 2019 - UWA Aspire
Pinjarra Alumina Refinery Chemical Services Manager Richard Yeates with year 8 Coodanup College students Jack White (left) and Lachie Campbell (right), teacher Christine Bennett (center), and UWA’s Bronwen Veale during the ‘Megalodon’ maths session.

Richard is one of several Alcoa employees who have attended the sessions held across various local high schools, sharing their study and career stories in a bid to encourage more local students to consider going on to a tertiary education.

The sessions guide students in their subject selection for years 11 and 12 while also demystifying the university entrance ranking process and other considerations when thinking about university such as accommodation, scholarships and alternative entry pathways.

Richard, a Chemical Services Manager at Alcoa’s Pinjarra Alumina Refinery, said he enjoyed his time at the Gilmore College and Coodanup College sessions.

“These kids are on the cusp of a decision that will play a huge part in the rest of their lives,” he said. “Being able to talk to and help guide them in any way through making that decision is a privilege. It’s also an opportunity to talk to them about life after uni.”

The Alcoa Foundation has been supporting the delivery of the Aspire UWA program in 14 Peel region high schools since 2016. The partnership aims to address the Peel region’s lower than average educational attainment levels and high youth unemployment rate.

UWA Equity Outreach Programs Manager Elisa McGowan said the sessions were instrumental in engaging students to think proactively about their further education.
“By opening up the discussion around building on their interests and natural talents, we hope to guide students into decisions that will positively impact their futures,” she said.

Participating schools include Mandurah Baptist College, Byford Secondary College, John Tonkin College, Gilmore College, Frederick Irwin Anglican School, Foundation Christian College, Halls Head College, Pinjarra Senior High School, Harvey Senior High School, Waroona District High School, Foundation Christian College, Coodanup College and Mandurah Catholic College.

To find out more about UWA’s Aspire program, visit


Media contact
Louisa Loder, Community Relations Officer, 9531 6240,

Editor’s note
Alcoa of Australia (Alcoa) has a proud history in Australia which it hopes to continue by remaining internationally competitive, attracting ongoing investment and providing jobs for future generations.
• Alcoa has been contributing to Australia’s economy since 1963, investing more than $12 billion over 56 years.
• More than 65 per cent of Alcoa’s total annual revenue stays in Australia through wages, local purchasing, taxes, royalties, capital investment and dividends to Australian shareholders.
• Alcoa employs more than 4,275 people in Australia. About 3,750 live in WA.
• In our 56 years, Alcoa has taken on more than 2000 apprentices, trainees and graduates.
• Alcoa invested $1.7 billion with Australian suppliers in 2017.
• Alcoa paid $654 million in Australian wages, salaries and associated benefits in 2017.
• Alcoa paid $400 million in State, Federal and Local government taxes and royalties in 2017.
• Alcoa made $4.2 million in community contributions in 2017.