Life-changing program celebrates its 50th graduate

28 August 2017

The generosity of donors to the Young Achievers Program was cause for celebration at UQ’s July 2017 graduation when the 50th student to receive a program scholarship walked away with a hard earned Bachelor of Communications.

The scholarship enabled graduate Tom Achilles to attend university and supported his study journey.

Despite having the grades and determination, coming from the small rural Queensland town of Oakey posed challenges including the distance and cost of travelling to classes as well as the isolation of being away from his home, family and friends.

“This is where the Young Achiever Program and the Young Achiever Scholarship really kicked in and providing me with not only the support I needed but made my university experience much more enriching,” Mr Achilles said.

The Young Achiever Program was established in 2009 and supports the study dreams of capable high school students, whose path to university may be fraught with obstacles such as distance or financial barriers, but who have the capability and absolute determination to succeed.

It supports students from participating Queensland state high schools, providing $7,000 annually, mentoring assistance, support networks and other opportunities that help students thrive at university.

Many of the generous donors who have supported the Young Achievers Program are UQ staff who give through payroll deductions, which all add up to make a huge difference to the lives of students.

“To all the donors who supported the Young Achievers Program, I just want to say thank you, thank you for everything, this has meant so much to me and my colleagues – your generosity has changed lives,” said Mr Achilles.

The Young Achievers Program helps nearly 800 talented young Queenslanders realise their educational dreams and aspirations, and with the continued support of donors, aims to assist every one of them to experience graduation.

If you would like to know more about supporting this life-changing program - or about supporting other student scholarships through our Staff Giving program - please contact Dr Margaret Hammer at UQ Advancement on 3346 3900 or email