BHP Billiton continues to support Newman and Port Hedland students

The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation has broadened its reach in Perth, thanks to a multi- million-partnership renewal with BHP Billiton.

BHP Billiton will contribute almost $3.9 million over three years, to enable the Foundation to continue to deliver the already successful Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success program in Port Hedland and Newman as well as run the Martu Education Centre in Newman and the Primary Maths and Science Centre of Excellence in Hedland. In addition the program will be expanded in the Perth metropolitan area, supporting an extra 90 Indigenous high school students each year at Mt Lawley Senior High School, Sevenoaks Senior College and Belmont City College.

The Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success program helps Indigenous students who have the interest and potential to complete secondary education and go on to tertiary studies, traineeships, apprenticeships or direct to employment. It assists aspiring students reach their career potential through increasing school attendance, lifting overall performance and improving graduation rates of secondary school students.

BHP Billiton and the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, along with the Department of Education, have been delivering the Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success program to schools in the Pilbara for more than ten years. A total of 88 students have graduated from the program since its inception in 2003 at Port Hedland and 2004 at Newman.

BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Community, Brett Swayn, said he was proud of the partnership’s achievement in the East Pilbara region and was excited to see it expand to schools in Perth.

“At BHP Billiton we see education as the foundation for the success of future generations and we are proud to support and invest in education partnerships like Follow the Dream, which encourage young people to succeed in the future. The program is essential to delivering long-term benefits for Indigenous students in the East Pilbara region and now Perth,” Mr Swayn said.

President of the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, Dr Sue Gordon, said the renewal of the partnership with BHP Billiton and its expansion to Perth would help more Indigenous students reach their full potential.

“The Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success program aims to create tomorrow’s Indigenous leaders,” Mrs Gordon said. “It is one of the first education programs of its kind and is recognised as one of the most effective Indigenous education programs in Australia.”

Mrs Gordon said the Foundation and all of its partners including State Governments, schools, community members and private supporters such as BHP Billiton, were collectively making an impact on the lives of Indigenous children around Australia.

To date, BHP Billiton has contributed more than $6.2 million to Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation’s Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success program.

Fast Facts:

  • BHP Billiton and the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation have shared a partnership with the Department of Education, delivering the Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success since 2003 in Port Hedland and 2004 in Newman.
  • Since its implementation the program has delivered significant education outcomes, with a total of 88 Indigenous students graduating the program in Port Hedland and Newman.
  • More than 480 Indigenous students have graduated Year 12 and gone on to tertiary education, direct employment and/or traineeships or apprenticeships thanks to the Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success program.
  • NAPLAN results show that program participants in Port Hedland and Newman are outperforming the general school population.
  • BHP Billiton has contributed more than $6.2 million to Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation’s Follow the Dream program since the partnership began in 2003.
  • The partnership will be renewed at a 10-year celebration event on Friday 12 July.
  • The renewal of the partnership for a further three years to 2015 is valued at $3.9 million ($2.7 million in Port Hedland and Newman and $1.2 million in Perth).
  • The Perth expansion will enable an additional 90 students to participate in the program each year (Mt Lawley – 30, Sevenoaks – 40, Belmont – 20).
  • The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation was established in 1995 and delivers the Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success program to 30 schools, mainly in WA, and also helps Indigenous students in primary school with maths and science.

High res images, interview opportunities and further information available. For further information:

Leanne Franco
External Affairs, BHP Billiton Iron Ore
0477 761 136
leanne.franco@bhpbilliton.com