Meet recipient of the 2019 Downer Cadet Program Scholarship, Madeline McComb

Toorak College
Feb 11, 2020 2:49:00 PM

Madeline McComb, Toorak College graduate of 2019, is the first to secure her place with the Downer Cadet Program Scholarship which is part of an innovative partnership with Toorak College aimed at empowering young females to develop profound pathways in the realm of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

As we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science on the 11th of February, we especially commend Madeline who has since embarked on her first year with the Downer Cadet Program which is an unparalleled opportunity to experience employment upon graduating secondary education. Toorak College had a chat with Madeline about her Downer Scholarship to learn more about her future aspirations, goals, and ambitions. 

Blog Featured Image_ Downer Scholarship

Toorak College Industry Partnerships

Under the direction of Principal Mrs Kristy Kendall, Toorak College strongly values industry partnerships to challenge gender stereotypes in fields where females are underrepresented, including STEM. To enhance students’ exposure to STEM subjects, Toorak partnered with an RMIT initiative called CS in Schools in early 2019 to help boost student and teacher engagement in digital technology. Similarly, the Downer Cadet  Program Scholarship offers Toorak College’s graduating Year 12 students up to two positions in Downer’s Road Services’ Cadet Program available to those who have chosen to pursue STEM-based university degrees and desire a career in construction and engineering.

“The partnership between Downer and Toorak College provides an exceptional opportunity for Toorak students to gain industry knowledge to support their decision making and practical experience to fast track their careers. For Downer, it demonstrates a commitment to the community and continual flow of high performing female talent,” says Mrs Bianca New, Toorak College Student Futures Specialist.

About Downer

Our partnership with Downer is an incredible opportunity for our girls to learn, grow and thrive. Downer’s cadetship tenure is for four years where students work full-time between November through to February each year, rotating to a new discipline. Upon successful completion of the undergraduate degree, Downer may offer full-time employment. Executive General Manager - Road Services at Downer, Dante Cremasco says this partnership will enhance the landscape of STEM industries within secondary education.

“At Toorak College, we aim to challenge the world we live in by providing outstanding pathways for our girls beyond their secondary education. This fantastic partnership with Downer is just the beginning of many extraordinary avenues to come to help empower our girls to build a world they can thrive in.”, says Principal Mrs Kendall.


In Madeline’s Words:

“When I discovered I had been successful, I was very excited,” says Madeline. “I believe this opportunity will facilitate my love of mathematics and science into a real-world working environment.” Madeline agrees that Downer will provide countless opportunities for her to build skills, knowledge, and confidence to form industry connections and gain real-world experience across many fields. 

Since her induction in November last year, Madeline says, “The people at Downer have been fantastic in making me feel welcome. Most of my day is spent out on-site learning, which has been a fantastic experience. I was excited to see what engineering looks like in the workplace and the Downer workplace is a great environment to be in. I have absolutely loved being a part of it so far.”

Madeline encourages other girls wishing to pursue STEM-based subjects and careers and says, “don’t be afraid to jump in the deep end.”

STEM at Toorak College

As part of Toorak College's initiative to help boost female undergraduate enrolments in STEM, we recently unveiled our architecturally-designed Swift Science & Technology Centre at our STEM FEST event earlier this year. The Toorak and local community were invited to celebrate the official opening of our Swift Science & Technology Centre and discover the innovative learning spaces and fun science activities on offer. The new facility features collaborative learning and break out spaces, an outdoor lab, a boardroom-style classroom to provide authentic workplace experience, Digizone 3D printing, and prototyping facility, VR pod for full visual immersion and AV ability to record lessons and support expert teaching.


STEM FEST promoted all to be inspired and enthused by STEM, and followed STEM Australia's purpose to be “encouraged to understand the excitement and importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in their lives, and the career opportunities to which the STEM subjects can lead.”

Madeline says, “Many of the skills I have learnt at Toorak through STEM subjects have been transferable to the workplace. I think that the environment that Toorak provides to learn, has fostered my love from maths and science, and the passion that all the STEM teachers have towards these subjects made me excited to pursue them in the future. I am so grateful to Toorak for introducing me to this cadetship, as I otherwise would not have even been aware of this opportunity.”

Madeline is an outstanding example of where her STEM subjects have led her to follow her passion in the STEM field, and enrich her knowledge and experience with real-life opportunities and experiences through the Downer Cadetship. Go, Madeline!



Discover what makes Toorak College unique by attending our small group tours and prospective parent information evenings. Enrolments now open!

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