Santos has announced a $50,000 sponsorship package for the Country Universities Centre North West.

The CUC board was delighted with the sponsorship, which chair of the CUC North West Cathy Redding said was ‘massive’ for the CUC.

“Santos is pleased to support the Country Universities Centre in Narrabri,” said Santos’ Narrabri gas project manager, Todd Dunn.

“The centre is an important facility to develop local opportunities for our young people to progress from high school through to university without having to leave town and move to a larger centre for their tertiary education.

“Santos will benefit from local students having access to quality tertiary education as they may choose to work with us in the future and they will be familiar with the core values and expectations of the local community.”

Mr Dunn said that with around 100 students currently undertaking their studies from the CUC North West within the first 18 months of the facility opening, the initiative has been a resounding success.

“Santos’ contribution of $50,000 will assist with increasing information technology facilities as well as helping to offer academic and well-being workshops to students,” Mr Dunn said. “We are also proud to be part of the CUC North West being able to develop adult education opportunities for those who are interested in furthering their tertiary studies.

“The CUC North West provides local facilities and networks to well respected academic institutions across Australia.”

The $50,000 sponsorship presentation was attended by CUC senior staff, directors and virtually, via Zoom, by CUC chief executive officer Duncan Taylor.

“It it is great to be working with an industry that is so important to the region,” Mr Taylor said.

“This Santos sponsorship is enormously valuable for us. We are used to operating with light resources and drive our money a long way. This is a fabulous sponsorship from Santos,” Mrs Redding said.

“CUC North West is extremely grateful and we look forward to using it to continue providing excellent support to our students.

She said the sponsorship funds would go towards equipment and facilitate engagement with existing and potential students.

It would enable the CUC to take its role out to schools to encourage students to think about the CUC as a viable option to moving away to attend university.

The CUC has continued to gather momentum since it was opened in July 2019.

“Student numbers are already well above expectations,” Mrs Redding said. “We are going from strength to strength – and looking at options for expansion. The development of the CUC is all about building supporting partnerships. The CUC is free to students and we want to keep it that way. We are very much focused on community run, community engaged operations that the whole community can be proud of.”

The Country Universities Centre North West supports students who are studying online at any Australian higher education institution.

The Centre provides secure access from 5am until midnight, seven days a week. Registered students can utilise the quiet study spaces, up-to-date computer technology, fast internet and rooms which can be booked for seminars, online lectures or tutorials, or exams.

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