At only 18 years of age, Ben Andreas already has an innate understanding of responsibility and duty.
“I’ve been working since I was 14 to help out at home and relieve some of the financial stress on my Mum who has always strived to put the educational needs of my brothers’ and I first,” Ben said.
“School fees and keeping a house of sons fed and clothed is hard work for a single mother so I’ve always tried to do my bit,” he said.
Beyond his commitment to his family unit, Ben’s also a volunteer with Rosie’s Friends on the Street and his desire to help and care for people is now at the core of his future career plans.
A senior leader at Toowoomba’s Downlands College, Ben graduated Year 12 in 2020 and accepted an Early Offer from the University of Southern Queensland to study a Bachelor of Nursing.
“I’ve always had an interest in caring for people and have drawn a huge amount of inspiration from my Aunty who is a theatre nurse. She’s shared with me some incredible stories from both a clinical and personal perspective and it always appealed to me as a really rewarding job,” he said.
“I was also witness to the love and care that nurses afforded to my Great Aunt who passed away a few years ago. It had such an impact on me watching and listening to how nursing staff didn’t only support my Aunt, but also our whole family, and it’s something I’ll never forget.
“I’m really excited about knowing that one day I’ll have the opportunity to pay that support forward to another family.”
Ben’s own journey into nursing is being supported by the inaugural MacIntyre Wind Farm Scholarship – offered for the first time in 2021 thanks to an endowed gift from ACCIONA. The gift marks the beginning of ACCIONA’s construction of the wind farm.
Established to support one student each year in perpetuity, the scholarship is open to those commencing a bachelor’s degree who reside in or have moved for study from one of the three local government areas – Southern Downs Regional Council, Goondiwindi Regional Council or Toowoomba Regional Council.
Ben said the $2,000 scholarship has been a priceless boost to the start of his university studies.
“Money is really tight for me and my family at the moment and I can’t stress enough how much relief it’s given me to know that scholarship money was available,” he said.
“It’s seriously the best thing to happen to me in an exceptionally long time and to not be consumed by panic about how to afford nursing equipment or textbooks means I’ve been able to breathe.
“I can’t say thank you enough. If I didn’t have this support, I know I’d already be behind and struggling. It’s an amazing gift that I’ll be forever thankful for.”
Big business, big impact