For Elise Reed and Lane Blieschke, the news that they were awarded the Cellarmasters and Thomas scholarships has been a welcome start to their university studies.

Elise will study Occupational Therapy at the University of South Australia while Lane will study Advanced Health and Medical Science at the University of Adelaide with both expressing a desire to return to the Barossa and contribute to the health and wellbeing of the community.

Elise and Lane were selected from a strong group of students, demonstrating excellent academic results, a strong work ethic and a commitment to the region. For the panel, selecting two students that are committed to coming back to the Barossa to work in the health sector made sense.

‘Not having to stress about fitting in extra paid work to pay for text books means I can focus on my studies’ said Elise.

This was a sentiment shared by Lane who will relocate to Adelaide to be able to focus on a course load that will see her with five full days of classes. ‘I am grateful that I have grown up in the Barossa, and I look forward to being able to come back and make a contribution to the health and well-being of the community.’ said Lane.

The Cellarmasters Scholarship was established in 2014 in partnership with the Woolworths Liquor Group (WLG). As a major employer in the region, through Cellarmasters, Vinpac and Dorrien Estate, WLG wished to acknowledge the loyalty and support of staff, customers and suppliers by establishing an educational scholarship supporting local young people.

‘The Thomas scholarship was one of the first initiatives launched by Foundation Barossa, after research showed that kids from rural and regional areas had lower completion rates of tertiary education because of the added stress of moving away, missing family support and the additional financial burden. Thanks to the generosity of David and Barbara Thomas, and the ongoing annual contribution from Cellarmasters, awarding these scholarships is just another way the foundation is able to fulfil its mission of giving today to enable tomorrow,” said Nick Slape, Chair of Foundation Barossa.

Both scholarships provide up to $18,000 over three years to assist with textbooks, fees, transport and relocation expenses.

The formal presentation of the scholarships will take place at an event in February.

Individuals and organisations wishing to donate to Foundation Barossa can contact Annabelle Elton-Martin, Foundation Barossa Executive Officer on 0455 774 333 or info@foundationbarossa.org.au