New Award will support Waikato migrant and refugee communities

University of Waikato and Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust launch an award to support the local migrant and refugee community.

16 Nov 2023

The University of Waikato and HMS Trust Award officially launches this month, timed to mark the one-year anniversary of the signing of a strategic partnership between the University and HMS Trust last November.

HMS Trust Executive Chair Claire van der Most and University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley at the signing of the partnership in 2022. The two organisations have launched a new scholarship for migrant and refugee students.

The Awards will be offered to up to four recipients each year, who will each receive up to $8,000 towards tuition fees and course materials.

HMS Trust Executive Chairperson Claire van der Most says the new awards will provide access to tertiary education to people who may not normally be able to attend university.

“There are a number of people who have the potential, but sometimes don’t have the means to obtain tertiary education," says Claire. “Education is such an enabler for people, setting them up for careers and earning money.”

To be eligible for the Awards, applicants must be current clients of HMS Trust living in the Waikato region, be actively contributing to the Waikato community, and be enrolled in part or full-time study in a degree programme at the University in the year of the Award.

“This is a steppingstone to achieve a qualification, then head out into the world and do great things,” says Claire. “Ultimately, it supports the aim of the partnership, which is to improve the economic and social wellbeing of people from migrant and refugee backgrounds in the Hamilton and Waikato region."

Professor Asad Mohsin, who is Assistant Vice-Chancellor of Community Engagement at the University and a HMS Trust board member, played an important role in setting up the Awards and the partnership between the two organisations, says Claire.

“Asad is very passionate about the power of education, and we have developed this scholarship with his support.”

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Neil Quigley says he is delighted to see the partnership taking flight, and the benefits the Awards will provide to students and their whānau.

“These new Awards provide an opportunity to learn from our first-class academics, teachers and researchers, and we look forward to welcoming recipients to the University of Waikato next year.

“We hope that this scholarship and their University studies will have positive ripple effects for them, their families and communities.”

Claire is excited about the ongoing opportunities for the University and Trust to work together with partnered events and conferences, knowledge-sharing and research.

“We are looking at ways we can continue to support each other, with mutual benefit, and make a positive difference to the lives of people in our community, which is really exciting.”

Based at the Settlement Centre Waikato on Claudelands Park, the Trust works with around 800 clients each year, providing a wide range of services and programmes for migrants and former refugees.

  • To find out more about the University of Waikato and HMS Trust Award, please visit the University scholarships webpage.
  • Preference will be given to first-time applicants, those with strong academic achievement or potential, and those with financial need. The intention is to award it to different students each year, but applicants can reapply for subsequent years.
  • Applications are now open and will close on 1 February 2024.



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