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Batchfire Scholarship Stars: Q&A with Zoe

We sat down with Zoe Wilke, one of the 2023 Batchfire Scholarship recipients, to find out how she has found the experience so far. 

Thanks for sitting down to chat, Zoe. How did you find out about the Batchfire Scholarship Program? 

I found out about the Batchfire scholarship program through past students at my school. They received scholarships in front of the student body in 2017 and I thought it was so cool that they got to go to university with the extra security of a local scholarship! So, when my year came around, I was watching out to see when the next round would be released. When my school reposted the advertisement for the program I applied and a few weeks later I heard back!  

That’s great! You have just completed your first semester studying a Bachelor of Communication at the University of the Sunshine Coast, tell us about how you found it? 

My first year of university came faster than I expected. I intended to go to university at the start of 2024 after taking a gap year before beginning, but when the scholarships appeared it pushed things into action much quicker. So I have only been at university for a semester, but it has been great so far. I love that I am able to do courses that are about things that I am passionate about and of course being so close to all the beaches! 

The beaches are certainly a nice perk! Has the scholarship provided peace of mind for you, living away and studying? 

Having this scholarship has given me the extra security that I need. To know that I won’t have to stress as much about my finances, being so far away from home, is just a weight lifted off my shoulders. This, paired with the holiday placement, partners well because when I come home it also means I get experience in my field of work and being local it makes it much easier. 

What have you learnt so far, studying at university while also undertaking holiday work at the Callide Mine?  

So far at university I have learnt about basic techniques that are involved in my field, but it has been very interesting so far. At Batchfire I have been doing activities and projects related to my degree but that are also related to the mine. So, I am learning a lot about the mining industry while also gathering knowledge for my degree and it’s been a great experience so far. 

That’s great to hear, Zoe! Has this experience so far confirmed your interest in a career in resources? 

Before doing this program I didn’t know just how vital the resources industry is, but being on-site and learning about all the processes has been really interesting so far. This entire experience has just increased my interest in the resources industry and I can’t wait to learn more about it! 

We are glad you have enjoyed it so far. What advice would you give to other people considering a scholarship at Batchfire? 

The advice I would give to school-leavers that are considering applying is to go for it. I never thought I would be going to university as early as I did and it was scary, but I am glad that receiving the scholarship pushed me to do it. The benefits of the scholarship outweigh the negatives of having to move to away for university earlier! 

It sounds like it has worked out well for you, Zoe. What has been your favourite memory on-site at Callide since joining us for holiday work? 

My best memory on site was the first day I got to go out and we went to see the dragline in the D-Cut pit. We got onto the dragline and got to walk around the house and the whole machinery area all out the back. It is definitely much bigger than I had originally thought when we got closer! Other than that, the people that I have met out here are really awesome to work with and were so welcoming. They also just understand that you’re still learning and have been so supportive. They are really good people to be around and I 

would highly recommend that anyone considering applying should do it, because although I have only been here for a few weeks now, it’s been a great experience! 

You’re not the first person to mention the dragline as a highlight, Zoe. It’s one awesome piece of machinery. Thanks for the chat! 

Batchfire’s 2023 Scholarship Program welcomed six talented young students who are now part-way through their studies at university.  

Each student is given $5,000 per year for university-related costs, as well guaranteed vacation work and placement opportunities.  

If you live in the Callide Valley and are looking at undertaking tertiary education in 2024, we would love to hear from you! Take a look at the Batchfire Scholarship Program, here 

To find out more about Batchfire you can connect with us on LinkedIn or contact us here.