Economics graduate blazes a trail for Indigenous peers

Jason Batchelor is set to graduate with a Bachelor of Economics from The University of Queensland today, and he has already set his sights on resolving key Indigenous issues.

The high-achiever and born leader has displayed a genuine passion for economics since the onset of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.

After finishing high school at Clairvaux Mackillop College, Jason was accepted into the UQ School of Economics and awarded an Indigenous Cadetship with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

With his undergraduate degree complete, Jason said he was eager to find ways to assist the Indigenous community.

“My mother is the manager of a Benevolent Society project called ‘Shaping Brains’, which aims to help disadvantaged children with their educational needs,” Jason said.

“Although this program is not specifically targeted at the Indigenous community, many Indigenous children fall within its scope.

“I firmly believe that programs like this are a major step towards closing the gap on Indigenous inequality.

“Unfortunately they receive very little funding, which reduces their impact.

“The best way to ensure that these projects succeed is to conduct empirical analysis to prove beyond doubt that they are making a difference.

“Empirical analysis involves collecting and analysing data to determine whether, for example, education programs are reducing Indigenous social exclusion by improving learning.

“My goal is to one day be responsible for conducting this kind of economics research and ensuring that governments and private donors are aware of the value of these projects.

“Armed with the skills and knowledge I have acquired from my degree, I hope to contribute to a better standard of living for society as a whole and for Indigenous people in particular.”

Jason said he hoped to mentor prospective Indigenous students and had even considered volunteering as a motivational speaker.

“I want to be a role model for all Indigenous Australians and encourage them to achieve both academic and professional success,” he said.

“I think by sharing my experiences and knowledge, future Indigenous students can learn a great deal about how to get into and get through university, how to secure a job and how to succeed in a challenging work environment.

“In the process, I would also emphasise the importance of embracing our culture so that it may live on long into the future.

Jason said Indigenous students considering economics studies should apply for cadetships, scholarships and internships, keep up to date with economic events, get involved with the various clubs and societies on campus, and seek help if needed.

He graduates on Friday 12 December.

Jason hopes to begin a Masters Degree in International Economics and Finance next year.