Challenger plays role in Chilean nation-building


Five Chilean students studying at Challenger Institute of Technology in Beaconsfield have formed the vanguard of a five-year plan that will see more students from this South American country studying in Australia and, more particularly, Challenger.

The first cohort of five scholarship students are studying ACEPT, Maritime and Horticulture courses. Helmut Arrue is completing a Certificate III in Horticulture General, Marlene Poblete a Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation and three students, Ruben Tellez, Eduardo Garcia and Boris Perez, are completing a Certificate IV in Process Plant Technology.

The Chile Bicentennial Scholarship (BECAS Chile) is an initiative aimed at improving Chile’s global competitiveness by improving the quality and scope of academic, professional and technical education. The Chile Sponsorship Program at Challenger is part of this major international collaboration, involving Education and Training International and the Government of Chile.

Western Australia received the greatest number of students to its universities and RTOs, and of those Challenger received the single largest intake.

“Most of our international students come from India, China, the UK and southeast Asia, so this program really brings a sense of diversity to our student population,” said Alex Elibank-Murray, Manager International Relations. “Challenger’s allocation of the largest number of students in WA is a great reflection of the esteem in which are programs are held internationally.”

“With these new enrolments we now have 516 international students representing 58 countries on our campuses. As well as students from Indonesia, Korea and Sri Lanka, we also we have students from more non-traditional destinations such as Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Peru,” said Ms Elibank-Murray.

Horticulture student Helmut, of Rancagua in central Chile, is specialising in irrigation studies and said he hoped to improve upon some of the horticultural techniques in his home country.

“I’d like to learn more about native plants, to incorporate new species in parks in central and northern Chile, which has a similar climate and soil to Perth,” said Helmut.

Boris, of the Chilean capital Santiago, is studying at Challenger’s Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training (ACEPT) in Munster with two countrymen, Eduardo Garcia from the seaside city of Viña del Mar, and Ruben Infanta of the northern Chile port city of Antofagasta.

Describing Fremantle as a beautiful and interesting part of the world to study, he said the outstanding simulated oil and gas plant at ACEPT ensured his training would be world-class.

“The lecturers are all very friendly and experts in their fields, so as well as improving our English, making new friends and seeing another country, we are all in a fantastic position to improve our prospects, and contribute to improving those of our country,” said Boris.