Your source for News and Events at the Pilbara Universities Centre

Education in Remote and Complex Environments

Wednesday, 27 November 2020

On Wednesday, 27 November 2019, the House Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training adopted an inquiry referred by the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, to inquire into and report on the education of students in remote and complex environments.

This inquiry examined how education meets the learning needs of students in regional, rural and remote communities and how barriers in education can be overcome.  The committee found that Australians growing up in regional and remote areas have lower educational attainment rates in school, in Year 12 and in tertiary education, compared to those living in metropolitan areas, and that a range of factors contribute to gaps in access and equity across a child’s education journey.  The committee made 14 recommendations to improve access to quality education, and outcomes for students in regional, rural and remote communities.

Discover more about the Education in remote and complex environments report here.

Here are some key findings from the report:

4.16  The Town of Port Hedland noted that Pilbara people are concerned by ‘the significant gap in educational attainment for all levels of schooling between regional, rural and remote areas, and metropolitan areas’. Furthermore, the need to move to access improved schooling options was reported as a prominent reason for people in the 30-39 year age range to leave the Pilbara region.

“The focus on education approaches that retain and enhance the
local skills base by delivering highly contextualised education
aligned to employment opportunities, is key to ensuring that Port
Hedland and other Pilbara towns are appropriately positioned to
retain students in Town, meet new economic opportunities and be
resilient during economic fluctuations.”

5.94  The Western Australian government reported it is working with universities to explore ways to encourage young people in the regions to aspire to university education. For example: The Western Australian Government has committed to invest $550 000 into establishing the new Pilbara Universities Centre, a not-for-profit education support service for current and aspiring students undertaking university education within the Pilbara region.’ The Centre will provide ‘a learning environment through which students gain access to educational support, application and enrolment assistance, guidance on courses and pathways, connections with local industry, comfortable and modern facilities in which to study and connect with other students, as well as administrative and student support.

Learning How to Learn at Roebourne Regional Prison

October – November 2020

Last week the PUC completed an exciting project delivering a series of workshops to the female prisoners at Roebourne Regional Prison.  The initiative was developed by PUC staff in conjunction with the prison’s education team, to provide the female inmates with an opportunity to explore practical learning strategies, critical thinking concepts and communication skills that can be used in everyday life.

The workshops covered a range of topics including creative and proactive approaches to learning, the importance of analytical self-reflection and developing skills in reading, listening, and writing for effective learning.  The women explored how they learn best through their personalities and individual learning styles, and how the brain can change and learn new skills, patterns and behaviours.  

One workshop focused on oral communication and the women used storytelling to practice their skills by preparing and delivering a short talk to the group. The final workshop involved listening to stories and engaging in art activities, while talking about understanding and minimising stress, building resilience and identifying simple mindfulness practices.


At the completion of the workshops, the women noted that they enjoyed learning about themselves and that skills such as goal setting helped them to stay focused on their plans for the future.  Some were keen to share their stories and letters with family and everyone in the group loved the art aspects of the sessions.  Our PUC staff also thoroughly enjoyed working with these students and being a part of their learning journey.

Learning How To Learn is a bespoke course developed and delivered by our team.  It is suitable for anyone wanting to develop practical learning strategies, critical thinking and communication skills that can be applied to study, in the workplace and daily life.  If you would like to know more about LHTL, or are interested in a custom-made course for your workplace, please contact us on

Careers Evening – Health and Social Sciences

Thursday, 22 October 2020

On Thursday 22nd October, the Pilbara Universities Centre hosted its second careers evening for 2020.  This fantastic evening focused on the Health and Social Sciences industries where current and prospective students learned about being a nurse, social worker, psychologist, dietician and speech pathologist in the Pilbara along with providing a networking opportunity for local people to meet other people working in a similar profession.

Prospective students experienced the wonderful facility, meet PUC’s tutors, learned about how tertiary education opportunities were possible for them and heard from current students about their experiences and tertiary education journey with the PUC.  

We would like to thank all the amazing health professionals who spoke and shared their stories.

“A few things struck a chord with me. One is that education has no age barrier. And you need to go into study with an open mind. You might take two steps forward, one back and another sideways. Just embrace it and enjoy the journey.” – Shelley, new STEPS student, age 60

It was a fantastic evening, and we are incredibly grateful for all the work our health workers do in our community.

Orientation 2020

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Welcome and Congratulations!

On Wednesday evening the Pilbara Universities Centre held its inaugural STEPS Orientation evening.  After twelve months of planning it was with immense pleasure that the PUC welcomed its very first ‘mixed-mode’ students,  Ms Keni Burford, Ms Leanne Mott and Ms Gail Greensill into Central Queensland University’ STEPS program for 2020. 

This special event gave each student the chance to meet their tutors: Dr. Jacinta Homann and Ms Aleesha Meuleners who had recently completed intensive training and induction at both CQUniversity and Curtin University prior to being engaged as university tutors at the PUC.

During the evening PUC discussed key aspects of the STEPS programme (including tutorial format, student support services, student systems and study plans) as well as allowing students the opportunity to meet and connect with other students

Student also had the opportunity to met and listen to special guest Tymeika Stiles, a STEPS graduate (now studying a Bachelor of Business with CQUniversity) who not only spoke about her own STEPS experience but provided great study tips and inspiration to all who attended the 2020 STEPS orientation.

Photo: (left to right) Dr. Jactina Homann, Keni Burford, Leanne Mott, Aleesha Meuleners, Gail Greensill and Susan Grylls.

Photo: Tymeika Stiles

Pilbara Women in Business 2020

Monday, 24 February 2020

On Monday evening a two-hour panel hosted by MC Tanya Dodd (KDCCI CEO) saw Pilbara Universities Centre CEO Susan Grylls along with Mark Bouw, Founder of management consulting company Muidop and Brigette McDowell, CEO of Cheeditha Energy speak about ‘Driving Change through Innovation’.  Each of the keynote speakers shared stories about their experiences and career, providing the audience with a powerful and raw insight into their professional lives.

Mark Bouw

Mark has over 25 years of Corporate Strategy, Innovation, Commercialisation Leadership and accessing Government Grants. His market expertise includes Health & Medical, FMCG/consumer products, and Advanced Technologies markets. He is the Founder at Muidop.

Mark works with businesses to find the right strategies that deliver true economic profit with a focus on the healthcare, consumer & technology industries. Mark is noted for his ability to build start-ups, drive new product development, lead businesses and have a wealth of expertise in navigating the government grant landscape.  World-class ability to analyse trends and find opportunities that win to drive true economic profit, Global success in R&D, product development, launch and market embedment. Front line leadership to challenge social bias in a business to strive beyond mediocre results. Mark is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Susan Grylls

Susan Grylls is the CEO of the Pilbara Universities Centre (PUC). In 2019 she left her executive position in a multinational oil and gas logistics company to establish the PUC and help provide Pilbara residents with the ability to study at university without having to leave the Pilbara. Since graduating from university with a double degree in law and environmental science, Susan has worked in a myriad of industries (including telecommunications, agribusiness, legal services, marine and oil and gas logistics) in a variety of roles. Working with great and inspiring people from all walks of life has been one of the major benefits of her career and she firmly believes that when it comes to innovation, rural, regional and remote people certainly punch above their weight.

Susan lives in the Karratha with her family and loves water polo, mountain bikes riding and enjoying the benefits of the beautiful Dampier archipelago. She particularly enjoys not having to spend hours in traffic each week getting to and from work.

Brigette McDowell

Brigette McDowell is the CEO of Cheeditha Energy. Cheeditha Energy is a Pilbara Aboriginal Company that was established in early 2018 between Cheeditha Group Aboriginal Corporation and local Western Australian company National HC to pursue opportunities in the Pilbara for the design and installation of solar projects and energy saving and environmentally friendly hydrocarbon refrigerant exchange.

The company’s vision is to create a long term business opportunity for the people of Cheeditha and their business partners and to support Cheeditha Group’s overarching desire to become financially independent. The company’s mission is to provide value to clients by way of effective energy-saving solar and hydrocarbon exchange solutions.

 Fit-Out Starts at The Quarter

Photo:  PUC’s CEO, Susan Grylls standing in Level 1, The Quarter before Fit-Out commences.

Monday, 16 December 2019

In December 2019 the fit out of Level 1 at 20 Sharpe Avenue, Karratha (also known as The Quarter) commenced.  This fit-out will see 316 square meters of vacant floor space transformed into a vibrant and modern regional universities centre that will provide students with a space specifically designed to support them complete their chosen University education.  

The entire space will consist of:

  • Three Community Learning rooms 
  •  Library and study space with printing and computer facilities 
  • Meeting area 
  • Pastoral Support room
  • Kitchenette 
  • Lounge for Students to relax and take a break from study
  • Reception and Foyer
  • Staff Offices
  • Storage rooms, and
  • Bathrooms/Toilets
In each of the Community Learning rooms and Meeting areas students will be AV/IT that will provide live stream tutoring and face-to-face support including  

Photo:  Architectural drawings of PUC’s Head Office courtesy of Matthews & Scavalli Architects

Photo:  St Luke’s College Student and PUC’s CEO, Susan Grylls  at the schools Senior Award night.

Local School Presentation Nights

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Wednesday the 18th December, marks the last of the school award presentations for 2019, sponsored by the Pilbara Universities Centre (PUC).

Since October, the Pilbara Universities Centre have attended numerous graduations and award ceremonies at 13 local Pilbara primary and secondary schools in Newman, Port Hedland, Tom Price, Roebourne, Wickham, Dampier and Karratha.

The Pilbara Universities Centre sponsored awards for students that demonstrated high achievement, community mindedness, continued academic endeavouring and above all else a passion and love for learning.

The PUC would again like to acknowledge and congratulate the award recipients and wish them all the best for their future endeavours. 

STEPS information session in partnership with CQUniversity

Monday, 2 December 2019

In the first week of December, the Pilbara Universities Centre (PUC) hosted their inaugural information night that saw local community members join together to learn about the Central Queensland University (CQU) enabling programme ‘STEPS’ (Skills for tertiary preparatory studies).  A programme to be delivered through the PUC in Karratha, March next year.

The night kicked off with the PUC staff introductions before moving to an interactive presentation and Q&A about the free Government-funded tertiary entrance programme and the services the Pilbara Universities Centre provide, followed by light refreshments and a chance to network between PUC staff and attendees.

The STEPS programme assists students (both school-leavers and mature-aged students) to gain the necessary skills required for entry into an undergraduate-level degree. The programme aims to build upon existing skills and generate the confidence for students to be able to successfully pursue their academic endeavours.

Attendees at the event included: potential students, representatives from two local high schools, North Regional TAFE and the Marble Bar Community Resource Centre (through video link).  

The Pilbara Universities Centre  provides support to university students across the Pilbara region through academic, administrative and pastoral support.

If you are interested in studying  with the Pilbara Universities Centre in 2020, email enquiries to

Regional Study Hubs Symposium 2019

Day, 15 November 2019

The inaugural Best Practice in Regional Study Hubs Symposium was run over the weekend of November 14th and 15th, 2019 at the Country Universities Centre in Cooma and at the Lake Crackenback Resort, Jindabyne.

The Symposium was opened by the Commonwealth Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, and included: workshops, discussion panels, expert subject matter presentations and addresses from Federal and State Ministers and from the Department of Education.

Members from 16 Federally-funded Regional University Centres convened in the Snowy Mountains on 15 November 2019 to collaborate, engage with higher education experts, and share examples of best practice with the aim of ensuring students from regional, rural and remote communities across Australia receive better access to higher education and to improve student success.

NCSEHE workshops were held on 14 November at Country Universities Centre Cooma, followed by a public symposium on 15 November at Lake Crackenback Resort, Jindabyne.

Photo:  Regional Universities Centre students sharing stories and experiences about their tertiary education journey.

Key discussions at the Symposium around student and regional university centres support, included:

  • assistance for First-in-Family students;
  • supporting the mental wellbeing of mature age online students;
  • increased support for increased success of Indigenous students;
  • building a learning culture in regional Australia; and
  • the shape and composition of future regional workforces.

University academics and staff from across Australia, with a keen interest in regional tertiary education, including CQUniversity, Charles Sturt University, the University of New England, Curtin University and Macquarie University attended and provided insight into best practice areas.

The Symposium was organised by the Country Universities Centre with the support of, and funding from, the Australian Government through the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) and Destination NSW.  It follows on from a successful Regional Study Hubs conference hosted by the Geraldton Universities Centre in Western Australia earlier this year.

PUC begins 5-year Lease with City of Karratha

Tuesday, 01 October 2019

The Pilbara Universities Centre has entered into a five year lease with the City of Karratha to establish its head office and Karratha campus at Level 1, The Quarter.  In addition to the PUC’s presence in Karratha, the PUC also has a study hub at Port Hedland and is currently seeking to establish study hubs in both Onslow and Newman.  

The PUC Karratha campus and Port Hedland study hub will provide a base for students throughout the Pilbara region to utilise dedicated facilities and personnel to assist them achieve their university dreams.

In addition to its facilities in Karratha and port Hedland, the PUC is currently seeking funding to engage Outreach officers who will travel within the Pilbara region to bring tertiary education, support and tutoring to remote and regional students unable to access any of PUC study hubs.  

Photo:  Susan Grylls, PUC’s CEO – Outside The Quarter, Karratha

PUC holds Annual General Meeting – 2019

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Pilbara Universities Centre inaugural Annual General Meeting was officially held within the Karratha Shopping Centre and enabled community members, government members and staff to engage and discuss the achievements of future of the PUC.

PUC’s Chairperson Kylah Morrison provided a statement highlighting the achievements of the PUC since the centres conception, and recognised the appointment and success that PUC’s inaugural CEO, Susan Grylls has brought to both the community and Centre to-date.  Mrs Grylls then presented the current milestones and future goals that PUC staff were working towards with the support and guidance of the Board.  

Photo:  PUC Board Members, Community members and Staff

Photo:  Melissa Price MP 

Marble Bar CRC – Training Centre Open Day

Friday, 18 October 2019

Photo:  Susan Grylls, CEO at Marble Bar

At 5am on Friday 18th October, the Pilbara Universities Centre (PUC) travelled North 424.3km (a 4.5 hour drive) from Karratha to Marble Bar, to attend the community resource centre training centre open day. This facility was originally opened back in 2014 however due to compliance issues the building remained unused until the issues were remedied by the inclusion of a brand-new wheelchair accessible ramp and stairway along with a revitalisation of the space. 

The building is a fully powered, air-conditioned unit, with security cameras and an integrated alarm system that serves the purpose of offering residents of Marble Bar a space for hire for meetings/conferences, a quiet, furnished training/study space, computer access (including access to software), WIFI and Ethernet internet connectivity and charging points for laptops and devices, printing & scanning, access to an internet connected ‘Smart Board’ and whiteboards and videoconferencing facilities.

This long-awaited opening attracted half a dozen local service providers to setup stalls for Marble Bar residents to interact and engage in training and education initiatives, amongst them were Apprenticeship Support Australia and North West Regional TAFE.

The day provided a chance for many organisations to get familiar with one another and offered residents the opportunity to find the relevant organisation for their needs. Among the Marble Bar locals, a registered nurse Ms Mortimer working for the remote nursing post. Ms Mortimer has always wanted to undergo the next step to her training by completing her enrolled nursing course. Unfortunately, this has not been made readily available to her in such an isolated community in Western Australia. Ms Mortimer could not believe her luck upon meeting representatives from the Pilbara Universities Centre, after discussions with the team about her pathway, Ms Mortimer has since applied to study nursing with Central Queensland University via distance education and will be supported by PUC throughout. She will also have the ability to complete the practical components of her degree in Port Hedland facilities 188 Km or 2-hour drive as opposed to travelling to Perth 1482km away regularly.

The Pilbara Universities Centre support all students studying or endeavouring to study higher education in the Pilbara and aim to visit local towns regularly to ensure that others like Ms Mortimer do not fall through the cracks and instead have an opportunity to follow their goals to study without having to leave their homes.

If you are interested in studying higher education in the Pilbara and live outside Karratha or Port Hedland where our study hubs are located; good news is that PUC are working to establish study hubs in both Newman and Onslow, be sure to follow the journey:

Inaugural Presentation at Port Hedland 

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Thursday 29th August, PUC hosted their inaugural event in South Hedland, a morning tea at the Youth Involvement Council (YIC) for members, students and stakeholders of the Pilbara Universities Centre.  Those that attended were a mixture of high vis, business attire and casual wear, showing that anyone can undertake tertiary education.

In attendance a mixture of high vis, business attire and casual wear as PUC had a range of mining workers, RTO representatives, community workers, working mums and students along to learn about the PUC and the future direction of the organisation.

The purpose of the morning tea was to inform local Port Hedland residents of the exciting opportunities available through the PUC as we begin to develop our presence in the area through the take-up of the study hub in the WEB Business centre.

The event proceeded with coffee and tea, introductions, a PUC presentation, with a question and answer forum followed by a YIC-catered morning tea. The PUC found this to be a great opportunity for both ourselves and the attendees, one that we would like to replicate again in the near future.

If you have any questions about the PUC what has been accomplished this year or what the future direction is for the organisation, please send your enquiries to or visit our social media for regular updates

 2019 Lions FeNaCLNG Festival  –  Fe[Iron]NaCl[Salt]NG[Natural Gas]

Saturday, 3 August 2019

On Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th of August 2019  at Bulgarra Oval, Karratha the Pilbara Universities Centre participated in the Lions Club annual FeNaClNG Festival at Bulgarra Oval – Karratha.  At our interactive stall, within the Yara Tent, PUC staff members were able to meet locals and showcase what the PUC was bring to the community and gather interest from local groups and youth.

The name, FeNaClNG, comes from the chemical symbols of the three main production and export commodities in Karratha and Dampier: Iron Ore-Fe, Salt-NaCl and Natural Gas-NG (not strictly correct but it makes the name work!) The festival is of such importance locally that a public holiday is declared.  For more information click here.

Karratha 2019 Career Expo

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The annual career expos held in both Port Hedland and Karratha in May this year, brought together hundreds of local residents.  This free community event is designed to provide information about the opportunities available in the Pilbara region, made possible by industry leaders, educational institutes and training providers, among these the Pilbara Universities entre.

 The PUC held an interactive stall in Port Hedland on the 3rd and Karratha on the 8th of May to gauge from the local community, what programs they wish to see the Pilbara Universities Centre deliver in the region.

PUC staff helped explain the model of the universities centre and the support students can receive as university students studying in the region.  The two events both proved successful and provided insight into the community’s wants and needs for higher education courses.  From our surveys conducted, it has been identified that these below courses are what the local Pilbara community are needing: nursing, social work, psychology, engineering and marine biology.

The PUC endeavours to work with our partner universities and create further partnerships to begin to design and implement these courses in the next 5 years. 

For 2020, the Pilbara Universities Centre are focusing on the Central Queensland University enabling program, STEPS (Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies) which will start in March.  PUC are currently taking applications for this entry course to university study, visit our website to learn more

Launch of Port Hedland Study Hub

March 2019

The Central Queensland University (CQU) study hub in the WEB Business Hub Port Hedland, has changed hands with the Pilbara Universities Centre (PUC) in March 2019. Prior to this, the CQU Hub was a place dedicated to their students studying online to visit as an alternative study space. This was particularly utilised by their nursing students whom form the majority of CQU’s Pilbara-based student cohort with most residing in Port Hedland to utilise the state-of-the-art facilities at the Pundulmurra campus.

The WEB Business Hub is a space within the Town of Port Hedland that offers flexible co-working areas, meeting/conferencing rooms and regularly hosts events and workshops aimed to provide local small business and residents with a chance to build upon their skills and knowledge. Currently, Pilbara Universities Centre hold two office spaces for students to work out of as an alternative to study at home or in the library; these spaces are available from 8:30 am-5.00 pm Monday to Friday.

In 2020, PUC aims to improve and grow this location to have a permanent co-ordinator to support students in several capacities (administrative, academic and pastoral support).

Eventually growing to the capacity of providing tutorials and workshops delivered by Pilbara Universities Centre tutors. Currently, students studying in Port Hedland will remain in a full online delivered course with their respective universities and can utilise the space as their own. The difference the change of hands has made is now students from all universities can occupy this space and with the added bonus of having support from Pilbara Universities Centre, who can be reached online or alternatively can be met at the facility; as PUC staff regularly make visits to the WEB to meet with students or to occupy the space for events or work purposes during the year.

If you are looking to utilise these spaces within the WEB Business Hub or interested in becoming a coordinator for the Pilbara Universities Centre please email the team at

 Pilbara Universities Centre unveils its New Logo

Thursday, 5 September 2019

The Pilbara Universities Centre unveiled its now logo which was designed in collaboration with the PUC, a local graphic designer and Roebourne based Aboriginal artist.  The creation of the logo is a representation of the region’s sea, land and Indigenous heritage incorporated into the shape of the Pilbara region.

The P in blue represents the Pilbara Coast

The U in red represents the local red earth and the ancient rocks depicting Aboriginal petroglyphs

The C in yellow represents the land and rolling hills covered in spinifex


Pilbara Universities Centre gets the green light

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Residents will be able to stay in the Pilbara while studying university courses and receive wrap-around educational support from as early as mid-2019 after a “game-changing” universities centre model for the region was awarded critical funding last week.

Funding of $3 million from the Federal Government will allow the establishment of the Pilbara Universities Centre — a supported distance education service providing local tutorials and administrative and pastoral support for students taking courses with partner universities — which will have its headquarters based in Karratha and a study hub in Port Hedland.

Members of the PUC advisory committee with Durack MHR Melissa Price, centre.

It will make the Pilbara only the second country region in WA to have such a centre, after the Mid West, and opens the door to the possible creation of a Pilbara School of Mines in the future.  Courses will include nursing, early childhood and primary teaching, engineering, business, and social services such as social work and psychology, and CQUniversity, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University and the University of Southern Queensland are in talks to be potential partner universities.  

Durack MHR Melissa Price said she hoped the centre would lead to education becoming “an industry of its own” in the Pilbara, especially if it prompted the creation of a Pilbara School of Mines.  “We’re talking about young people being able to get an education, but not just that, we’re talking about it being an industry so we’re going to attract people from other parts of Australia and the world to come and get their university education here,” she said.  Read Full Article Here.

Minister for Education Announces 16 Regional Study Hubs

Friday, 9 November 2018

As part of the Australian Government’s Plan for Regional Australia, the Government has been working to ensure that all people with the desire and capability to attend university have the opportunity to do so, and succeed in their studies, regardless of their background.

The Government is, therefore, investing $24.2 million over four years to assist in the establishment and operation of 16 community-owned, regional study hubs at 23 sites across regional Australia.  Regional Study Hubs (RSHs) will provide infrastructure such as study spaces, video conferencing, computing facilities and internet access, as well as academic support for students studying via distance at partner universities.  Read Full Article Here.

Department of Education logo