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A worthy investment

by Heather Leggett

Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Høj hands Nicholas Hanns his scholarship. He plans to enter an industry known for its highs and lows, and future financier Nicholas Hanns has just experienced his first thrill of being in the black, having been awarded the Kevin Benger Community CPS Scholarship worth up to $20,000. Nick’s scholarship was one of 119 awarded to UniSA students in late May, worth a total of almost $490,000.

The 17-year-old, who is now in his first semester of a Bachelor of Applied Finance at UniSA, has his eyes set on a career in the fast world of finance, inspired by the tales of his grandfather who is a financial advisor.

“He has told me some great stories about his career and made the finance industry sound really exciting,” he says. “It’s my ideal career - at school, my favourite subject was Economics. I liked how it was so relevant to the real world and finance is the same.”

This is the first Kevin Benger Community CPS Scholarship ever to be awarded, created to recognise the achievements of former Chief Executive Officer Kevin Benger, who retired in February after 12 years of leadership. Community CPS, one of Australia’s largest credit unions, awards the scholarship to first year students with a strong academic record and a need for financial support.

Nicholas, who will need to support himself financially through university, says that the scholarship has come as a very welcome surprise.

“When they told me I was being awarded the scholarship, I couldn’t breathe,” he says.

“I was blown away, and so appreciative. It means that I can really focus on my studies rather than divide my time with part-time work and even start to pay off my HECS debt before I graduate.”

Katherine Stocco, the Human Resources Manager at Community CPS who was on the scholarship selection panel says that Nicholas was chosen because of his focus, maturity and conscientiousness.

“He sets and achieves high goals for himself,” she says.

“He’s motivated by helping people improve their financial situation and has an ambition to give financial advice to people as a financial planner. This scholarship will enable him to focus on his double major and personal goal of achieving a distinction in all subjects.”

A successful and dedicated student, Nicholas was also heavily involved in his school community, including giving up his lunchtimes to support a blind classmate.

With his first semester of university well underway, he is enjoying the challenges that come with university life.

“It’s a completely different atmosphere to high school, you’re required to be far more independent,” he says.

“But it’s also very exciting. UniSA is a great place to study, and what really appealed to me is that it’s hands-on. They support you in finding work experience and employment after graduation.”

As part of the scholarship, Nicholas may have the opportunity to undertake a work placement at Community CPS, an opportunity he can’t wait to explore.

“Community CPS is such a diverse company, so I would get the chance to experience many different aspects of a financial career,” he says.

“If it all goes well, I would love to stay with Community CPS and explore opportunities here and interstate.”