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TOYOTA Australia has awarded 23 scholarships to students in the Sutherland Shire, south of Sydney, in the second of three yearly funding commitments it has made to reduce the negative impact brought by the reduction of its workforce in the area.

As GoAuto has reported, Toyota’s corporate operations were consolidated in Melbourne at the end of last year in conjunction with the closure of its car manufacturing and related facilities.

As a result, major departments at its Caringbah office, including national sales and marketing, shifted to Melbourne, reducing employee numbers by more than half at the site – from around 360 to 141 today.

Brighter future: Twenty-three scholarships were awarded this year to students from 11 schools in Sydney’s south.

The company says the scholarship program and other grants – designed with the support of not-for-profit organisation Schools Plus, which connects corporate donors with disadvantaged schools – were developed to help deliver “a meaningful and lasting legacy of Toyota’s presence in the Sutherland Shire”.

This year’s scholarship winners came from 11 secondary, combined and special schools in the shire.

The money will help the students explore career paths, with this year’s cohort targeting a range of professions including medicine, vet science, creative arts and photography.

As part of its commitment to the region, Toyota also contributes an unspecified amount towards “priority projects” identified by five local schools: Endeavour Sports High School, Dunlea Centre, Bates Drive School, Cook School and Minerva School.

Toyota Australia president and CEO Matthew Callachor described the company’s contribution as “a fitting and lasting legacy to the community in which we have operated in for so many years”.

Schools Plus chief executive Rosemary Conn said that “by joining forces with corporates like Toyota Australia, who generously support schools that need it most, we’re making sure our next generation receives a quality education”.

“We’re so pleased that many of our donors including Toyota are helping us in a strategic way by making multi-year funding commitments to projects,” she said.

“This means our charity can make the most impact to students’ lives over time.”

By Terry Martin