Twenty five-year-old James Scott is living his dream as a paramedic thanks to the help of the Edward River CEF.
As a country boy from Bunnaloo, near Moama on the NSW/Victorian border, James was the first in his family to move away for educational opportunities. James said moving to Ballarat to study at the Australian Catholic University added extra costs and time constraints.
“A lot of people I went to uni with were living at home, they didn’t have any expenses. Their parents would cook for them. I had to go home and cook for myself. They’d go home and study and I had a job to help pay for rent, and to pay for food. That sort of stuff, they had a lot more time on their hands to study.”
Without help from CEF he would have had to work more hours, as well as study, cook and look after a house, and maybe even have had to take out loans just to pay the rent.
“At the time, it was quite difficult for my family’s industry – agriculture. I don’t know if my parents could have supported me like some other people’s parents who earned salaries because income was fluctuating with drought. They were obviously financially disadvantaged at the time, so I couldn’t have borrowed from my parents.
“Without CEF’s grant I would have had to take a loan, or it could have involved extra work hours, whether that was at home or in Ballarat.”
After four years of study in Ballarat, and a few years working in Melbourne and Bendigo James is now living closer to home, in Echuca, and has long terms plans to stay closer to home.
“I worked as a nurse at The Alfred for a year, then I applied to become a paramedic and I was positioned in Bendigo, and from Bendigo they then positioned me back home to Echuca. I am happy. For the next five to 10 years I see myself in Echuca.”
James said he would recommend the opportunity CEF gave him to any country kid who was looking for a bit of support, whether it be a trade, university or another course.
“Just put in the application. A lot of people get put off by the process, but at the end of the day it’s there for them to benefit and get to the career they want. Just apply.”
If you are interested in applying for a CEF community scholarship go to: https://cef.org.au/apply-for-a-grant/