The Australian Property Research and Education Fund’s (APREF) inaugural Regional/Rural Scholarship program, which commenced in 2021, has now come full circle with the first two successful recipients soon to hit the ground running with careers in property.

The $10,000 bursary, paid annually over three years, has made it possible for these two students from regional Australia to complete formal qualifications in property otherwise beyond their financial reach.

Also part of APREF’s Regional/Rural Scholarship program, mentoring and other forms of support have allowed these two students to stand on the shoulders of experienced practitioners working in the valuation space.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the two inaugural Regional/Rural Scholarship recipients, what they’ve learned and where they’re going.

APREF recipient one: Will Lonergan 


  • Home: Hobart, Tasmania
  • Former high school: Rosny College
  • Degree: Bachelor of Property and Real Estate
  • Place of study: Deakin University, Melbourne

With an eye on a professional qualification within the property sector, Will had no option but to leave his hometown of Hobart for the mainland after graduating high school in 2020.

Three years on, Will has just completed a Bachelor of Property and Real Estate from Melbourne’s Deakin University.

“Having had two brothers who could only afford to study part-time due to financial difficulties, I’m deeply grateful for the funding received under the APREF Tasmanian Scholarship program which paid for my accommodation in Melbourne over the last three years,” says Will.

“Beyond the funding, both the work experience with Knight Frank and the mentoring I received under scholarship support has opened a lot of doors and provided me with good connections within Melbourne’s property sector.”

Will also acknowledges the mentoring support received from API’s membership relationship manager (Tasmania) Mel McMeekin and from Melbourne-based valuer with JLL, Jordan Huber, with whom he served on the Young Property Professionals (YPP) committee.

What does Will plan to do next?

 While Will’s API-accredited degree provides a good foundation for several job opportunities within the property sector, he’s in no hurry to jump into the first job that comes along.

Will plans to take a well-earned hiatus after three years of study and has his heart set on a six-month travelling sabbatical.

“In Victoria, there’s a lot of competition for an entry-level role within the property sector, but I feel that my degree – which encompassed economics, accounting and finance – plus the contacts made during the scholarship program have given me a good leg up.”

APREF recipient two: Meg Eishold

  • Home: Echuca, Victoria
  • Former high school: Goulburn Valley Grammar School
  • Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science (property and valuation)
  • Place of study: RMIT, Melbourne

Currently in her last year of a four-year Bachelor of Applied Science degree (property and valuation) from Melbourne’s RMIT, Meg was attracted to a career in valuation through her dad and uncle, both of whom are valuers.

While now complete, Meg says three years of financial assistance (received through APREF Regional/Rural Scholarship) made it possible for her to leave rural Victoria to study in the state’s capital.

During that time, Meg also received mentoring from Vanessa Hoey, director (retail valuation) at Herron Todd White, sponsor of an award she won for having the highest graduate point average in 2022.

“As well as tapping into her knowledge, Vanessa helped to open doors to job interviews and career events within the industry,” says Meg.

“It was also great to get good insights from someone like Vanessa who’s currently working in the sector.”

What does Meg plan to do next?

Ahead of graduating in November 2024, Meg starts a part-time role in commercial valuation next February with Charter Keck Cramer, for which she will receive credits towards the completion of year four.

Meg has no plans to return to Echuca any time soon, preferring to remain in Melbourne and further her career in commercial valuation space (notably retail).

“Given that a qualification in valuation was not available to me in rural Victoria, I’m grateful for the funding I received under APREF Regional/Rural Scholarship program, which made studying in Melbourne possible,” says Vanessa.

“I encourage anyone keen to apply for funding under the APREF Regional/Rural Scholarship program to take their time making a thorough application, give good insights into your background and how a scholarship would benefit you.”

The Australian Property Research and Education Fund offers tertiary education scholarships to support students in accessing and completing their desired property economics, property valuation and other API Accredited Courses