Educators from Junee and Gundagai Receive Scholarship

More than 400 aspiring early childhood teachers have been awarded scholarships to complete their studies thanks to the NSW Government’s 2022-23 Early Childhood Education Scholarships Program.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has congratulated Tiffany Piffero of Junee and Ashleigh Armour of South Gundagai, two of four local scholarship recipients already employed in the early childhood sector.

“I am so pleased for Tiffany and Ashleigh who, with the support of these scholarships, will have the opportunity to boost their skills as degree qualified early childhood teachers,” Ms Cooke said.

“Not only will the scholarships be of immense benefit to each of them professionally, but this investment is all about us growing our own, supporting the early childhood workforce and nurturing a sustainable pipeline of future early childhood teachers.

“This is also exciting news for the centres where Tiffany and Ashleigh are employed, as well as the little learners who are in their care on a daily basis.”

Educator Tiffany Priffero has been with Inspire Early Childhood Services said this scholarship allows her flourish in what she loves to do.

“Success is no accident, it is hard work, perseverance and learning, and most of all love of what you are doing or learning to do,” Ms Priffero said.

Ashleigh Armour who works at Gumnut Childcare Centre Gundagai said she is passionate to learn about young children aged zero to five years.

“It makes me feel excited, elated and full of pride that what we do at this young age, prepares them for learning later in life,” Ms Amour said.

Minister for Early Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said one third of all successful scholars live and work in regional and remote areas across the state.

“With submissions from hundreds of talented applicants, many already working in community preschools and long day care services, it’s great to support these applicants to retrain or start their early childhood career,” Ms Mitchell said.

“These scholarships will support recipients to deepen their understanding of early childhood environments and gain additional skills and capabilities which will be passed on to the children they teach.

“I congratulate the scholars on their commitment to education and I wish them every success in their studies and future careers as qualified early childhood teachers.” More information can be found on the Department’s website:

Scholarships Awarded to Aspiring Regional Event Managers

The NSW Government will provide Diploma of Event Management scholarships to 20 up-and-coming event managers across regional NSW through a partnership with peak events industry body Meetings & Events Australia (MEA).

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said it was great to see the talent from the Cootamundra electorate recognised among the recipients of the Event Management Scholarship Program.

“Our region is home to some incredible talent, and I’m delighted that Lucy Targett, Leah Sutherland and Jacqueline Collins are representing the talent pool in our region,” Ms Cooke said.

“This scholarship will not just support them individually with tuition but will ultimately benefit the Cootamundra electorate by providing homegrown event management expertise.”

Scholarship recipient Lucy Targett said it was an honour to receive the scholarship to study a Diploma of Event Management.

“Since I was young, I have loved organising events. I have a passion and excitement for bringing people together,” Ms Targett added.

“Since 2019 I have loved volunteering for the Harden Kite Festival and have enjoyed being able to help organise the event. I can’t wait to start the diploma so I can fully support this event and give back to regional NSW in other future events.”

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney and Minister for Trade and Industry Stuart Ayres said the scholarships would play an important role in stimulating new business event activity in regional communities.

“The business events sector presents a major opportunity for the visitor economy, particularly for regional NSW of regional NSW,” Mr Ayres said.

“We know that the best way forward is to help to create more jobs and these scholarships will do exactly that – giving people the tools and extra support needed to kick-start their careers.

“I congratulate the 20 scholarship recipients who are already making valuable contributions to their local communities and wish them every success as they begin their diploma studies and continue their journeys in the events sector.”

MEA Chief Executive Officer Peter McDonald said he was looking forward to welcoming the fourth intake of regional students at a time when creating skills is key to enhancing career opportunities in the regions.

“MEA’s Diploma of Event Management is an events industry built and delivered qualification. Our students gain an applied education by learning about sectors concepts in real-world, real-time contexts. That regional NSW events are increasingly benefiting from the strong skillsets gained by the growing number of scholarship program graduates is testament to its quality and success,” Mr McDonald said.

“MEA is delighted to partner with the NSW Government and Destination NSW once again to welcome a new cohort of scholarship recipients and looks forward to supporting their event management learning and career journeys.”

The 20 recipients were selected by a panel, which included representatives from the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, MEA and the six Destination Networks.

NSW Government Announces Scholarship Winners to Support Local Apprentices

One hundred apprentices across NSW have been awarded a Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarship worth a total of $1.5 million, funded by the NSW Government.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke congratulated five local scholarship recipients on their achievement and commitment to vocational education and training.

“The annual scholarships, worth $15,000 over three years, support apprentices who are experiencing financial or personal hardship, demonstrate a high aptitude for vocational education and training, and show a commitment to their training,” Ms Cooke said.

“These grants are also a recognition that while apprenticeships are vital to ensuring our towns and villages have a pipeline of skilled workers, we also understand it’s not always easy to complete an apprenticeship.”

“The scholarship program is all about giving aspiring apprentices an opportunity with some added financial support to help start, change or further their career.”

Ms Anna McGuirk           Certificate III in Agricultural Mechanical Technology

Ms Georgia Wilson         Certificate III in Hairdressing

Mr Hamish Newell          Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade

Mr Jake Browne             Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician

Mr Samuel Affleck          Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician

Scholarship recipient Georgia Wilson expressed her gratitude for all the support she has received through this fantastic opportunity.

“Thank you so much to everyone who made it possible for me to be able to receive such a helpful scholarship and for giving me a stepping stone to achieving goals for my future,” Ms Wilson said.

“Being granted the Bert Evans scholarship will allow me to further my education and flourish in the field I’m so passionate about. Having this extra support behind me will open up so many pathways to achieving and doing my best with my apprenticeship.”

“Knowing our community and surrounding areas are able to help people like me achieve higher goals in life really makes me appreciate our educational system tremendously.” 

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the NSW Government is committed to ensuring training for apprentices remains accessible to all.

“A Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarship is a fantastic opportunity to get ahead and I congratulate the 100 recipients of the scholarships as outstanding apprentices in NSW,” Mr Lee said.

“Where people are supported to engage fully in education, training, skilled employment, or a combination, they are more likely to have a secure economic future and contribute positively to the community.”

“I encourage all the people of NSW to explore the range of initiatives and programs available to support apprentices, including the Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarship program, as well as NSW Government initiatives such as the JobTrainer program.”

The scholarship program is named in honour of the late Bert Evans AO, a passionate advocate of vocational education for more than 30 years.

Visit or phone 13 28 11 for more information and to apply.

Scholarships Now Open for Aspiring Mental Health Workers in our Schools

The NSW Government is continuing to prioritise student wellbeing by ensuring a strong pipeline of qualified mental health professionals in our schools.

The impacts of COVID-19, drought, flooding and bushfires have played out within our school communities, making mental health a key challenge facing young people across the state.

Our Government is committed to supporting students through these challenges by providing over 80 scholarships this year to encourage aspiring counsellors and graduate psychologists to choose a rewarding career within the school counselling service.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the scholarship was a great way to attract graduates and encourage existing teachers to train as mental health professionals and support students.

“Choosing a rewarding career as a school counsellor or psychologist means you will have an opportunity to have meaningful impact on students’ lives,” Ms Cooke said.

“It is so important that mental health professionals work collaboratively with teachers, families, school leaders and the wider community to help create that supportive learning environment our students need.”

There are three scholarships on offer, including; a training program for teachers to become a school counsellor; a program for psychology graduates to gain experience in schools; and a rural scholarship program for participants with an existing psychology qualification to work in rural and remote schools while completing their masters.

This year is the first year the NSW Department of Education will have graduates completing a rural training pathway for school psychologists.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the scholarship will cover the cost of tuition fees up to $30,000.

“School counsellors and psychologists are so important for our communities, especially during challenging periods with uncertainties like COVID-19. They can make a real difference to the lives of children and young people, and we want to encourage more graduates to consider meaningful careers in our schools,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Expanding the school counselling service is one of a number of strategies in place to increase mental health and wellbeing supports in our schools.”

Information and application details for the school counsellor and school psychologist scholarship program are on the NSW Department of Education website at: