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Scholarships awarded to Aboriginal students

Legal Aid NSW recently awarded four scholarships to Year 11 and 12 students in NSW. The scholarships will see the students receive financial assistance over the next two years as well as the opportunity of work experience with Legal Aid.

This is the third time that Legal Aid NSW has offered the scholarships, with the hope of not only helping young Aboriginal people complete their higher school certificate, but also aspire to study law at a tertiary level and go on to practise as lawyers.

This year all scholarship winners are from country locations, from Forbes in the west, Vincentia on the south coast, Alstonville on the north coast and Cranebrook in the outer suburbs of Sydney. 

Photo of Aboriginal students receiving scholarships
Students Connor Floyd and Jes-Se Rushby with Janelle Clarke (r) from the Aboriginal Services Unit

Students were presented with their certificates by Scott Hawkins, Director Aboriginal Services of Legal Aid NSW, at the NSW Department of Education and Training’s Nanga Mai Awards, which celebrate Aboriginal Educational Excellence in NSW Schools. The scholarships are run as a partnership between Legal Aid NSW, the NSW Department of Education and Training and the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.

They are part of the Legal Aid NSW Judge Bob Bellear Pathways to Legal Careers programs that includes cadetships for Aboriginal Undergraduate Law students and placements in the Professional Legal Training and Graduate Development programs. 

The program itself is named after the late Judge Bob Bellear, who was the first Aboriginal person to become a Judge of the District Court and a fierce advocate for Aboriginal rights over many years.

Scott Hawkins says, "Aboriginal people remain over represented in all indicators of social disadvantage, not least of which is in regard to educational opportunities. We see these scholarships as a small way Legal Aid NSW can not only support young Aboriginal people to complete their education but also potentially pursue a career with us. The scholarships and the Bob Bellear program are practical measures that we have taken to help achieve this goal."