Patryce Nona from the Gold Coast began her studies at Bond University this month, after being named as the inaugural recipient of the Indigenous Land Corporation Tourism Scholarship.
The scholarship, worth more than $115,000 over three years and jointly funded by the ILC and Bond University, will cover the full tuition fees of Patryce’s Bachelor of International Hotel and Resort Management and will also provide her with the opportunity to undertake an internship at an Indigenous tourism business operated by the ILC.
The 17-year-old, grew up in Innisfail, North Queensland, before moving with her family to the Gold Coast in 2004 in search of better educational and employment opportunities.
Patryce enrolled at Benowa State High School, where she studied hospitality and became part of a select group of Indigenous students in South East Queensland to complete a Certificate Ill in Hospitality (Operations) through the Sea World Resort and Water Park.
“It was during this time that I discovered my drive and passion to further my career in the hospitality and tourism industry,” said Patryce.
Having graduated from high school last year, Patryce says winning the ILC Tourism Scholarship to study at Bond University has given her the opportunity to pursue her dream of working in the tourism industry.
“This scholarship is a unique opportunity for Indigenous people like myself to study at an elite university and become role models for other Indigenous students who are interested in the tourism industry,” said Patryce.
“My goal is to build on my existing knowledge and gain a recognised qualification that will allow me to travel and work in hotels around the world.
“I am confident that the combination of what I will learn throughout my degree, together with Bond University’s reputation and international network of contacts, will ensure my success,” she said.
Patryce’s scholarship is the first of three to be provided by the ILC in partnership with Bond University, with two more scholarships available to students wishing to commence in 2011.
ILC General Manager David Galvin said it was the first time the ILC had joined with a university to offer scholarships.
“We are excited about the opportunity this will provide to Indigenous students, like Patryce, who are wanting to study tourism,” Mr Galvin said.
“The ILC Board strongly believes that tourism offers long-term and sustainable benefits for Indigenous communities particularly in relation to training and employment opportunities.
“The ILC has developed and operates a major tourism business at Home Valley in the East Kimberley and is currently developing a world-class eco-tourism facility in conjunction with the Mossman Gorge Aboriginal Community north of Cairns.
“The Indigenous Tourism Scholarship partnership with Bond University was a natural progression of the ILC’s aim to get Indigenous people involved at senior levels within the tourism industry and we congratulate Patryce as our inaugural winner,” he said.
Bond University Head of School of Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management Professor Elizabeth Roberts said partnering with the ILC was a long-term vision for the future of the tourism industry.
“This is a partnership never before seen in Australian tertiary institutions. Indigenous tourism is a growth industry that needs resources behind it if it is to flourish,” said Professor Roberts.