News & Events

Young Osborne Park student on the right track to support equity

The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) is providing yet another Curtin University final-year student with a valuable opportunity to gain work experience relevant to their field of study.

Mr Ian Cunninghame, a final year Master of Professional Communications student at Curtin, has been contracted as a Data Entry Officer by the NCSEHE.

Ian is working on a project designed to manage and maintain the NCSEHE’s growing database of research material. He has been tasked with ensuring papers, reports and other reference documents are catalogued, and their publishing details correctly recorded.

“I have had a bit of a hopscotch pathway into higher education after struggling to gain a high enough university entrance score at high school. However, with the support of Curtin and the NCSEHE, I was able to engage in tertiary studies without following the traditional trail, and now I am almost finished my master degree! It’s something that I am very proud of as I never thought I’d be in this position, let alone considering academia for a career,” said Ian.

“Although I wouldn’t describe my background as particularly disadvantaged, I do have a strong desire to ensure public policy allows for those who are from disadvantaged backgrounds to have the same opportunity I did to access higher education.”

“The NCSEHE’s work in providing evidence-based research to ensure there are no gaps in the available information and knowledge surrounding student equity in higher education – particularly in relation to those of lower socio-economic, Indigenous, regional and international backgrounds – is something I am grateful to be able to assist with.”

Ian’s appointment was made possible through Earn While You Learn (EWYL), a programme run by the Curtin Careers Centre, which recruits current students into casual and part-time on-campus positions. Established in 2012, EWYL enables students to enhance their professional experience by providing their skills and knowledge to Curtin departments while completing their studies.

“The NCSEHE has engaged a number of EWYL students in different roles during its time at Curtin. It’s an excellent opportunity to attract talent and enable university students – many of whom do come from disadvantaged backgrounds – to gain valuable work experience,” NCSEHE Director, Professor Sue Trinidad said.

“Ian is an example of a student who took an unconventional path to higher education, but got here in the end, and is proving to be an asset to the NCSEHE team.”

Ian lives in Osborne Park in Perth and will graduate at the end of 2015.


Story and photo by Susanna Wolz.

Posted 17 September 2015 Posted in Culturally and linguistically diverse, General, Indigenous, Low SES, Regional, rural and remote