Queensland Overseas Foundation 2015 Scholarship Awards Ceremony
Thank you, Rod. I am delighted to be here today for this important ceremony. I too acknowledge the Member for Surfers Paradise, the Queensland Overseas Foundation Board of Governors, the awardees and their families and, indeed, all those gathered here this morning. I join you all in congratulating the 2015 Scholarship winners.
In 1976, when the Foundation was established, overseas travel from Australia was becoming more common but was still enjoyed by a relatively small proportion of the population. In contrast, just last year there were almost nine million overseas departures by Australians.
Jetting off overseas on holidays or for work is more commonplace than it was nearly forty years ago, but we hope travellers still seek the same goal – experiencing different cultures and environments.
That is certainly true of Queensland Overseas Scholarship winners, though in a more specific way.
The Scholarships offer young Queenslanders the opportunity to go overseas, to be exposed to new work cultures, and new processes and technologies in their chosen field.
This experience is valuable for the individual awardees. It provides a rare opportunity to see and experience the way things are done elsewhere in the world, to develop new international networks and make new friends.
It is then up to each individual to absorb and learn, to judge which ideas are useful and applicable at home, and to make good use of those new networks!
The scholarship is valuable for the employers and industry sectors involved, because it encourages the exploration of new ideas.
It boosts the skills and experience of the scholarship winners which, in turn, adds to Queensland’s skills base and its capacity to innovate.
Furthermore, we know from past experience that the bright young Queenslanders here today have ideas that could surprise and engage the people and organisation they encounter overseas. After all, the rigorous selection process is designed to identify exactly that kind of impressive individual.
I am also conscious that the Scholarships place substantial responsibility on the awardees. They must manage new and probably unfamiliar environments. They are also expected to absorb as much knowledge as they can and bring it back, as it were, in their luggage.
I have no doubt that today’s awardees see this, not as a daunting prospect, but as a challenge to be embraced – especially when they know they have the support of their families, friends and mentors.
I am confident that the awardees will do their very best to meet and even exceed these high expectations in their chosen fields.
This year, as in past years, those fields are typically interesting and eclectic – meat processing, applied fashion and design, electrical contracting, and sheet metal fabrication.
But, whatever their field, the awardees will find that the scholarships have opened doors to professional and personal growth. And to the acquisition of invaluable skills and experience that can only be of benefit as their careers develop.
As Patron of the Queensland Overseas Foundation, I thank the Board of Governors of the Foundation for their time and effort in selecting another group of impressive young Queenslanders. They will join the more than one hundred individuals who have taken advantage of these scholarships since 1976.
I thank also the industry, education and government bodies who support the Foundation.
As Governor of Queensland I am also conscious of and delighted by the regional reach of the Foundation’s scholarships and its more recent Global Connections Bursary, and the benefits these awards bring to the Queensland community.
In that spirit, I wish Byron, Adelaide, Timo and Russell a productive, successful and enjoyable sojourn overseas, and a bright and prosperous future.