A last-minute decision to study mining instead of medicine led to a successful career for Peter Bradford. Now, as chairman of The Brighter Futures Scholarship Campaign Committee, he wants to support today’s students so they can receive similar opportunities to him.
From a young age, Peter decided that he wanted to become a doctor, however, an information session in Year 12 held by representatives from the Western Australian School of Mines enticed him to pursue a career in mining and resources instead. After finishing high school, Peter studied a Bachelor of Extractive Metallurgy at the Western Australian School of Mines, based in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, from 1976 to 1978. While some students struggled to adjust to life in Kalgoorlie, Bradford reveals he had nothing but a positive experience studying in the historic mining town.
“It was great learning at the school, and then having access to vacation work to help fund expenses,” he says, referring to paid work experience often undertaken by students in the mining industry. “I loved Kalgoorlie from the first moment I saw it. There was a great sense of comradery and likeminded behaviour from the type of people that were attracted to the industry.”
Peter’s decision to study mining delivered a highly successful career, and for the past 20 years, he has worked as CEO, managing director or non-executive director in several mining corporations operating in Australia and overseas.
As the CEO and managing director of Independence Group (IGO), Peter has now made the decision to give back to Curtin students, so that they can have the same opportunities as he had. “I grew up in a family that could not have afforded to send me to university. Thankfully, at the time I studied, tuition was more or less free. Government assistance paid for the majority of the living expenses and the vacation work paid for the rest,” he says. “That kind of support is not available for the majority of students today, who have to deal with hefty tuition fees and living expenses. There is also a lot of competition between students in applying for vacation work.”