The first Woodside community scholarship recipient to graduate says she is excited about deploying her newly acquired skills in her home community of Broome.
Abby-Rose Cox, 23, completed her 12-month course at Notre Dame University in June and is about to finish her final 10-week practical work experience – the last element of her graduate teaching diploma.
She is undertaking the work experience at St Mary's Secondary College in Broome, and says: "It's fantastic to finish my studies and start putting into practice what I have learnt."
Abby-Rose began her academic journey at the University of Melbourne, where she studied a Bachelor of Arts extended program with 13 other Indigenous students from across Australia.
It was during these studies that she first came into contact with Woodside after joining the National Indigenous Cadetship program in 2011 as a law cadet and experiencing two work placements at Woodside.
Abby-Rose says the scholarship gave her "the driving key" to successfully completing her degree and enabling her to continue fulfilling her passion for education.
"No dream is unreachable," she insists.
"I can't wait to work with the members of my community in helping to shape the next generation of nurses, doctors, teachers and other trained professionals.
"The only way is up and forward, and it's us mob who have the power and will to effectively break the cycle of disadvantage."
In 2014 Woodside initiated a relationship with St Catherine's College in Perth to work together in administering and delivering tertiary and community scholarships to Indigenous students residing at the college.
This year, six scholarships and three community cadetships were offered to students studying across a range of disciplines including engineering, commerce, education, law and health.
This now brings the total number of students supported by Woodside scholarships to 20 out of 55 currently enrolled students residing and participating in the Indigenous access program, known as Dandjoo Darbalung.
Recently the program was successful in obtaining additional national funding to complement the many personal development, tutoring, mentoring and cultural connection sessions provided to the students.
Coordinator of the Dandjoo Darbalung program Lynn Webber says: "The mentoring offered by Woodside staff who have been matched with each of the 20 scholarship holders allows St Catherine's students to create networks in industry that are invaluable to their future success."
For Woodside, the tertiary scholarship program is an alternative pipeline into the graduate development program with the community cadetship based on building capability in the broader community.
"Our contribution to St Catherine's is one example of working with community in building a diverse pool of potential leaders and technical professionals for the future," says David McLoughlin, Woodside Vice President People & Capability.