The Woolworths Group and UTS have committed $10 million to establishing a nationwide First Nations College.

February 16, 2023

The Woolworths Group and UTS have committed $10 million to establishing a nationwide First Nations College.


The Woolworths Group is assisting towards the realisation of the vision of a national residential First Nations college that supports Indigenous achievement. The College is a project of the University of Technology Sydney and is the first institution of its sort in Australia.


The college will have Indigenous programmes, an Indigenous library, a family history research centre, and an arts centre. It will also be built and run by Indigenous people. It will make it possible for people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander to select a residential college that, at its core, embraces their identity, customs, and traditions.


More than 50 Indigenous elders have endorsed it.


According to Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci, the company is pleased to partner with the institution to support the creation of new educational pathways for students from First Nations.


In addition to being headed by Indigenous people, the college will accept students from all countries and cultural backgrounds and serve as a role model for the inclusive Australian culture that Mr. Banducci says is what we want to work and live in.


“We think that education has the potential to change people’s lives. When backed by employment routes, the College will not only put culture at the centre of learning, but it will also offer career prospects and cultural exchange for everyone in our community.


“The relationship embodies Woolworths Group’s aim of creating better experiences together for a brighter tomorrow,” according to the statement. It is a part of our commitment to change for Indigenous outcomes and building a more inclusive nation.


Less than half of young Indigenous people currently graduate from high school with a postsecondary certificate, and completion rates are falling across Australia because Indigenous students do not feel comfortable in the current contexts.


University education is essential for preparation for leadership roles and increasing life prospects, health, education, and economic results, according to Professor Michael McDaniel AO, UTS Special Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor for Major Indigenous Strategic Priorities.


“Every gap closes, including the gaps in health, life expectancy, housing, and other areas. The solution to that is education.


“This commitment is a part of a larger relationship between Woolworths Group and UTS built on the principles of Indigenous kinship, community, and self-determination.


Professor Andrew Parfitt, Vice-Chancellor and President of UTS, declared that Woolworths Group would continue to support us in our joint effort to create a nation that is inclusive.


Once constructed, the College will support future Indigenous leaders of the country by offering scholarships and housing with costs covered for Indigenous students. It will also have strong ties to other colleges and businesses.


In partnership with a variety of education, cultural, community, business, and government partners, the openly accessible arts centre will serve as a venue for displaying events and exchanging ideas on culture.


The Woolworths Group has partnered with UTS for over 12 years and invested $10 million in the university through industrial advisory roles and Women in Engineering scholarships. This represents the greatest donation ever made for UTS Indigenous projects and the second-highest charitable pledge in UTS history.


The commitment emphasises the effectiveness of collaboration and an active philanthropic approach as change agents. To deliver the programme for the country, UTS, the government, business, and donors are working together under a cooperative finance model. The Oranges and Sardines Foundation, the Cowled Foundation, Wilson Asset Management, and other prominent charitable organisations have also made large initial contributions to the effort. The NSW State Government and the City of Sydney have also made sizeable contributions.


Construction on the College’s buildings will start in 2025.

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