A YOUNG Aboriginal leader with a desire to help others in his community is a step closer to achieving his dreams thanks to Port of Newcastle’s inaugural Indigenous STEM Scholarship, awarded in partnership with the University of Newcastle.

Proud Ngarigo man Jack Goldspink, who is the first recipient of the scholarship, said he is also the first in his family to attend university.

“No one in my family has actually been to university or completed year 12. As the eldest of four boys raised by my amazing mum, I knew I always wanted to finish school and go to university to set that example for my brothers,” Mr Goldspink said.

Mr Goldspink relocated to Newcastle from his hometown of Tumbarumba, near the Snowy Mountains, to start a Bachelor of Exercise Sport Science at University of Newcastle.

He said receiving the scholarship is a proud moment.

“The Port of Newcastle Indigenous STEM Scholarship is a reward for all the effort I put in across year 11 and 12, and the challenges I overcame during that time. Finishing high school, getting a good ATAR, being accepted into my preferred course at the University of Newcastle and now receiving this scholarship showed me that with effort, you really can get anything done. I hope to be able to inspire and support other young Aboriginal people to do the same,” Mr Goldspink said.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said the Indigenous STEM Scholarship in partnership with the University of Newcastle aims to assist young Indigenous people to seriously consider STEM careers and choose to be part of the future talent pool for emerging high-skill, high-income local jobs. 

“Jack is the perfect candidate to receive Port of Newcastle’s first Indigenous STEM Scholarship. This young man is an inspiration to his fellow students, his family and community. Having achieved much in his young years, Jack is a true leader and a deserving recipient of our Indigenous STEM Scholarship,” Mr Carmody said.

“If we can inspire and encourage more young people with the tenacity that Jack has displayed to pursue higher education, particularly in STEM related fields, and offer them support to help them succeed, then we at Port of Newcastle have achieved our goal with introducing this Scholarship,” Mr Carmody said.

In addition to financial support, the scholarship includes the opportunity to take part in professional development with the Port of Newcastle team and learn more about port operations.

Mr Goldspink said the funding from the Port of Newcastle takes the financial stress out of moving away from home.

“It’s allowing me to focus on my degree and spend more time making connections in the local Aboriginal community here in Newcastle,” Mr Goldspink said.

University of Newcastle pro vice-chancellor – Indigenous strategy and leadership Nathan Towney said through this partnership with Port of Newcastle, the University of Newcastle was able to support more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students coming into higher education.

“I am truly encouraged to see Jack Goldspink as the first recipient of the Port of Newcastle Indigenous STEM Scholarship. Jack is a resilient young man who has had to overcome many obstacles that have come his way. As a young leader amongst his community, I believe he will have a great impact on the students around him here at the University,” Mr Towney said.

“With an interest in being a part of programs targeted at supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, Jack is encouraging other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to explore the opportunities of higher education.”