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Batchfire Scholarship Stars: Q&A with Bianca

We sit down for a chat with Bianca Kroll, one of our 2023 Batchfire Scholarship recipients, to find out what she has learnt so far in her studies and time at our Callide Mine.  

Thanks for catching up, Bianca. Firstly, how did you find out about the Batchfire Scholarship Program? 

I found out about the Batchfire Scholarship Program through my high school and, after looking into it, I realised that there would be placement work available at the end of the school year. After reading that, I knew I had to sign right up so I could get some help with student payments, as well as have the option to get some hands-on experience. 

You’ve hit the nail on the head, Bianca, it’s a no-brainer, right? You have just completed your first semester studying a Bachelor of Business at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), tell how it has been so far? 

My first year of university was very stressful; a new place, new responsibilities, new faces and new bills nearly drove me crazy. I feel sorry for my mother who had to look after her kids alone for so many years, because I realise now it isn’t easy to keep a house running, and I only have to look after myself!  

But it was great fun to finally be on a university campus, especially because they’re so big and diverse that I can find somewhere to eat no matter where I am. Other than that, the staff make sure that you’re never at a loss with your studies, while the facilities make sure that you are never bored. It’s an environment conducive to learning, because you can get all the help you need right on campus. 

It sounds like despite the challenges, you have really stepped up! How does it feel knowing you are not only having your studies subsidised, but also have guaranteed holiday placement opportunities? 

Moving to the city and figuring out how to be ‘adult’ was a really steep learning curve for me, so I felt incredibly lucky to be a part of this program. Having the Batchfire Scholarship really took the edge off university payments, and the work placement guaranteed that I could get experience over the holiday, which is vital for university extracurriculars and future work. 

It’s also a massive bonus to be able to see my family every day after work, which is something I really missed during my time away from home. 

What have you learnt so far, both at university and on-site at Batchfire’s Callide Mine? 

I am currently studying accounting at university, which gave me lots of theoretical knowledge and taught me how to find the balance between finding data and collating that data for other people to see and use.  

My university happens to put an emphasis on real-world application, meaning the assignments were scenarios that could, and likely would, happen in real life, giving me invaluable experience that was very helpful during my work placement. 

Batchfire also taught me the more practical information necessary for work. Not only is theoretical knowledge needed, but a communicative attitude is too. I would never have gotten anything done if I didn’t ask as many questions as possible. Thanks to my time in Batchfire, I realised the importance of these more practical applications, and now wish to focus less on finance and more on management, as well as do more extracurriculars in university so I can get a handle on tricky data systems. 

We are glad to hear that your time at the Callide Mine helped shape your outlook in this way. Are you now set on a career in the resources industry? 

The people I met at Batchfire have an infectious zeal for their work. My experience with them has definitely got me interested in perhaps pursuing this field in the future. 

What advice would you give to school-leavers considering a scholarship at Batchfire? 

I would greatly suggest that any applicants hesitating to drop their forms in should get onto it immediately! There’s lots to gain and nothing to lose. The program helps with financing your studies, plus there’s real-world, hands-on experience. Not to mention, it’d be terrific to see more faces on-site next year. 

Lastly, what is your best memory on-site at Callide so far? 

I got to take a walk around in the Maintenance shed to look at the assets I had only ever seen as words and numbers, like the excavators, trucks dumpers and dozers that they use down in the pit.  

You read descriptions and dimensions of how big these machines are, but until you see them in person, it’s completely unimaginable – especially for a desk jockey like me who sits in front of computers all day!  

Being able to see people take these huge beasts apart and put them back together was quite the experience, and it was really shocking to see engines and wheels way taller than me. It really puts everything into perspective, that’s for sure. 

It was great chatting, Bianca. We are glad to hear you have enjoyed your time at the Callide Mine! 

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, keep an eye out for the next Batchfire Scholarship Program. 

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