The money will go towards scholarships for a further 90 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across the country.
The AIEF’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Penfold said the funding would make a substantial difference.
“One of the biggest barriers to achieving Indigenous equality in Australia is education – we know we have found a sustainable, and scalable, solution that works. We’re seeing it in action every day,” Andrew says.
“We’re very pleased to be working with BHP Billiton and, together with the students and their families, celebrating the success we are achieving each year.”
Students who receive secondary scholarships board at a range of Perth-based private schools. The tertiary program encourages students from across Australia to apply for degrees in mining-related disciplines such as engineering, at Australian universities.
To date, under the partnership, 35 Indigenous students in Western Australia have received secondary scholarships, including 24 students from the Pilbara, with an additional four students receiving tertiary scholarships this year. All of the secondary scholarship recipients have gone on to pursue University education.
The partnership is funded through the BHP Billiton Community Development Program. The program invested $58 million into the Western Australian community in the 2013 financial year, bringing the total investment in Western Australia during the past five years to more than $200 million.
“I have been privileged enough to spend time with some of the young people on our scholarship program, and their commitment and dedication to achieving their goals is inspiring,” says BHP Billiton Iron Ore President Jimmy Wilson.
“Not only does the scholarship recipient benefit, they have also become role models to other young people in their communities who can then follow in their footsteps. This ripple effect is very powerful and something that we’re incredibly proud to be associated with.
“Over the past five financial years, we have committed more than $55 million in education initiatives through the BHP Billiton Community Development Program.”