When recruitment sector luminary and TV personality Andrew Banks was approached to be the keynote speaker for the 2018 RCSA Annual Conference, he agreed to do so on one condition - that his appearance fee be used to establish a scholarship for a student at the National Institute for Dramatic Arts (NIDA).
It was a stroke of good fortune for Sydney-based Meiko Wong.
“When you are a student NIDA, and experiencing financial hardship, you are encouraged to apply for the scholarships which are offered,” Meiko, 30, explained. “It was a complete relief when I found out in February I had been named the recipient of the inaugural RCSA Prime Super Scholarship.”
Meiko, who is in the third and final year of a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance), said she has been able to keep studying thanks to a part-time job at Bunnings she has had since she started this course.
“As a third year student however, the workload for the course is even more demanding than the first two years, the projects take longer and when working on a production, the time demand spills over to the weekend so I have has no regularity in my schedule and availability for work,” she said.
“Receiving the scholarship was a huge weight lifted from my shoulders.”
Meiko, who already holds a double degree in commerce and science and previously worked as a management consultant, has ambitions to work on set design for film, television and theatre; her love of the theatre has been challenged by the interest, budget and scope of larger projects available for film.
“I can’t wait to work again,” Meiko said with a laugh. “I did have this life outside of NIDA and I would like to go and start earning some money again.
“Andrew Banks was incredibly kind and generous to decide to set up this scholarship and donate that money to NIDA. I know I am incredibly fortunate to be receiving it.”
RCSA CEO Charles Cameron commended Banks’s decision to ask for a scholarship rather than accept the attendance fee for the conference.
“We have been very privileged to be able to attract some incredible guests to our conferences and those who heard Andrew speak will long remember the insights he offered our members and guests,” Cameron said.
“His request for a scholarship to be organised was a great surprise to us and one we were happy to help establish with the help of our major partner, Prime Super.”