Our young people need us – and we need them – more than ever

Tasmania’s Premier Peter Gutwein recently stated that COVID19 presents “the greatest threat our State and our Country have faced in generations”.

Quite rightly, the focus of our governments over the last few weeks has been on responding to the immediate threat that this virus presents to the health of our community, and on ensuring that we do everything we can flatten the curve. I particularly congratulate Premier Gutwein for the great example he has set for our State: he has provided clear and determined leadership and has helped galvanise us as Tasmanians during this significant time of adversity.

As we all work together to combat the short-term threat of this virus, however, we must also remember the longer-term threat that this pandemic, and our response to it, could pose to the futures of Tasmania’s young people.

Having helped connect young people to education and employment for over 30 years, the Beacon Foundation is particularly aware of the risks that these perilous circumstances present to our youth.

Thousands of students have already begun learning from home. This has required parents to become overnight learning supervisors and placed massive pressure on schools and teachers to deliver remote learning, while still teaching some students on-campus. If we do not find ways to clearly guide learners through this unprecedented disruption, we risk thousands of students disengaging from education.

While this pandemic has already had a devasting impact on many in our community and resulted in enormous changes that all of us continue to come to terms with, it will also radically reshape the already rapidly changing future careers of our children. If we do not help prepare young people for this future, we risk creating a lost generation.

It is clear that now, more than ever, our young people need all of us – particularly industry and organisations like Beacon – to step up and work with them to make their futures as bright and secure as possible.

This is a challenge that the Beacon Foundation is taking on, and that we want others to take on with us. Drawing on our successful track record of working with over 10,000 Australian young people through online careers guidance, we are already working on ways to ramp up our online programs for school students.

Our Beacon team is at its best when it is working with like-minded partners to innovate and respond quickly to the emerging needs of young people. Our current approach is a great example of that. We are currently working on with several collaborative partners to produce a suite of online resources that will be launched at the beginning of Term 2.

It is clear, though, that this is just the beginning – there is still so much more that will need to be done to ensure we do not leave our young people behind. We will need brave hearts and bold thinking, and we stand ready to partner with schools, governments, businesses, and other not-for-profits – as well as our hundreds of online mentors and volunteers – to do this work. Indeed, we believe that with the right partners in place, young learners could lead us in generating the ideas we need to respond to and recover from the impact of COVID19.

We also know the burden of these challenges will fall particularly heavily on young people experiencing disadvantage. In 2016, over 6,500 Tasmanian households with children stated that they did not have access to the internet. How do we support students in these families to engage in remote learning? On any given night, over 400 young Tasmanians will be experiencing homelessness. At such a challenging time, how do we meet the significant, complex needs of these young people, including supporting them to remain engaged in education?

Beacon’s Collective ed. initiative, which began in 2016, has already been working with six Tasmanian school communities – in Ulverstone, Deloraine, George Town, Jordan River, Clarence Plains and Sorell – to understand and address these types of important questions. Using a collective impact approach, we are empowering our partner communities to take control over decisions about what happens in their local areas, including how resources are used to support young people. We’ve helped to establish Community Leadership Tables made up of students, teachers, parents, schools, businesses and local organisations, and we are supporting these groups to start identifying and breaking down the complex, systemic barriers that are preventing many young people from thriving.

Our major Collective ed. partners – the Tasmanian Government and the Paul Ramsay Foundation – showed great courage in enabling this radical new approach to education and to community-based decision-making. We believe that this powerful approach is going to be more critical than ever in supporting communities to respond to and recover from this crisis.
As challenges emerge for our partner communities in the coming weeks and months, our Collective ed. teams will be supporting our six partner communities – particularly the young leaders within them – to identify and coordinate collaborative efforts in each local area. We would also welcome the opportunity to help other Tasmanian communities to use collective impact and systems change approaches as well. In listening to and collaborating with young people on these decisions, we are likely to find our most powerful and successful solutions.

This is a hugely challenging time for our government, and there are many immediate threats that they need to focus on. When they can, however, I implore our leaders to consider how to ensure young people can thrive during and after this crisis, and how Tasmania’s not-for-profit sector can be called on to help.

For our communities and ourselves as families and individuals, our focus has been on how to keep ourselves safe and healthy. In times like this – as we were often reminded not so long ago, when commercial flight was taken for granted – we must fit our own oxygen mask first, before assisting others. Once we have done what we can to protect ourselves and our families, however, we must begin considering how we can help those around us. There is only so much that the authorities can do on our behalf: the rest will come down to the solidarity and commitment we have towards each other.

Social distancing has limited the ways we can reach out to others, but there is still so much we can do together to support each other and to make a difference. Keep focussed on staying safe and well, but when you can: consider what you can do to ensure a bright future for our young people, and what role you can play to empower young people to build that future. If you want to be an online careers mentor; if you want to find a way to use your resources to support young people; if you want to support our communities to take locally-led action in responding to this crisis – reach out to us. We’re here to help.

Scott Harris is the CEO of the Beacon Foundation

Beacon says community involvement vital to creating a job ready generation in our schools

Beacon Foundation is working with young people, schools, businesses and communities right across the State to create a job-ready generation of young Tasmanians.

Beacon CEO Scott Harris said the school attendance figures in today’s Mercury were disappointing but not unexpected.

“We know the last 15 months have been hard on everyone, but they’ve been particularly hard on students,” Mr Harris said.

“But importantly, we know how to turn the situation around. We know that when young people are engaged with, and encouraged by, local businesses it has a really positive impact. Research shows that if students engage with industry at least four times during their schooling, they are 86 per cent more likely to complete their schooling.

“Beacon’s mission is to create a job-ready generation, that’s why we are working with local schools, communities and businesses to help young people understand the opportunities that are available right on their doorstep.

“Programs delivered face-to-face by Beacon’s professional facilitators with the participation of volunteer business mentors also help students learn valuable skills in an environment which is difficult to replicate in the classroom.

“We’re working with businesses ranging from Hydro Tasmania to Blundstone to show students the diverse range of opportunities available to them and to show them they have a bright future ahead.”

Keeping kids safe and well – your voices

Keeping kids safe and well – your voices is a national consultation project conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission. It seeks the views and ideas of children, young people and families with lived experience of disadvantage and vulnerability on how to keep children safe and healthy in their homes and in their communities. Their views and ideas will inform the first five-year implementation plan to the successor plan to the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children (2009-2020), currently being developed by all Australian governments.

In early May, the Commission held some pilot consultations in NSW. These pilot consultations sought the views of children, young people and families on the relevance and appropriateness of the content and methods used to engage children, young people, and families in the national consultations.

Following the pilot stage of the project, the Commission planned to hold between 16-24 targeted small group discussions with children, young people and families across all states and territories during June-July 2021

Student ambassadors from Jordan River Learning Federation Senior School recently participated in one of these consultations with Anne Hollonds, the National Children’s Commissioner.

On 23 June, twelve students from the School’s ambassador group (years 7-12) opted in for the workshop. They students did an awesome job of engaging with Anne and her team and their voice has been captured for the new National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children.

Find out more about the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy 202 here.

Our children can have a rewarding career, right here

A new partnership with the Beacon Foundation will provide foundational career skills training for regional high school students, including one group who toured the Trevallyn Power Station today and got to speak with career mentors.

This $60,000 partnership over three years will fund workshops and events that give regional students an understanding of what it means to work in renewable energy, as well as practical job seeking and interview skills.

Hydro Tasmania Education Advisor Gina Harvey said this is a continuation of the successful work Hydro Tasmania had previously undertaken with the Beacon Foundation.

“We’re keen to promote STEM career pathways into Tasmania’s renewable energy sector because it has a bright future, but we’re also making a broader contribution to our state’s regional areas by just getting high school students to think about having a rewarding career locally,” Ms Harvey said.

“We were researching how Hydro Tasmania could help the local education sector with a targeted sponsorship, and knew it would be great to expand our previous partnership with the Beacon Foundation into the regional areas that Hydro Tasmania has a presence in.”

“Tasmania’s north-west, north, Midlands and the Bass Strait Islands are areas where students can experience a high level of disadvantage to entering the job market, so this partnership is targeting those areas with workshops and events like today’s tour, and they’ll get to meet Hydro Tasmania people who come from the same communities they do.”

Beacon Foundation Chief Operating Officer Kath McCann said they were proud to be working with Hydro Tasmania again.

“The Beacon Foundation has over 30 years’ experience, and long-established school and industry networks, focused on supporting young people to transition from education into meaningful employment, because every young person has the right to a job and the benefits that brings,” Ms McCann said.

“This partnership with the iconic Hydro Tasmania provides Beacon with an outstanding opportunity to deliver career content and experiences to young people from regional parts of Tasmania that we know they will benefit from.”

“You cannot be what you cannot see, so having Hydro Tasmania’s people on hand in-person to speak to and inspire these young people is an invaluable opportunity.”

Media Release courtesy of Hydro Tasmania.

Industry Live – How to write a job-winning resume

Registrations are open!

Join our next Industry Live, secure your spot today.

When: Wednesday May 26

Time: 11.30am to 12.00pm AEDT (plus an optional 15 min Q&A at the end).

Topic: Skills Series – How to write a Job-Winning Resume

Our panellist, Anne (pictured) is a Talent Acquisition Manager at Findex. Come along and find out what she does in her job, as she shares her practical tips with students on job applications and resumes, what to include in your resume but just as importantly what not to include. Also hear step by step tips on how to write a cover letter from the experts.

Register below to receive your Zoom link to the event on May 26.

We will send out a recording of the session to everyone who registered but couldn’t make the live session.

Please note, students will only be able to ask questions and chat to the panellists in real time. To get the most out of Industry Live, we hope you can join us live.

Beacon welcomes federal budget investment in apprentices, but more needs to be done to help prepare kids for the workforce

MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday, 12 May

Beacon welcomes federal budget investment in apprentices, but more needs to be done to help prepare kids for the workforce

Beacon is leading the way in Tasmania to help young Tasmanians become the next generation of apprentices and trainees in the State.

Beacon’s Chief Operating Officer, Kath McCann, welcomed the federal budget initiatives to make available more apprenticeships in Tasmania.

“It’s vital that the federal government continues to invest in apprenticeships and traineeships and last night’s budget is certainly a big step in the right direction,” Ms McCann said.

“For young Tasmanians to succeed though, we need to prepare them so they have the best possible chance of succeeding in the workforce.  That work needs to start in schools with young people gaining exposure to business and industry to inspire them.  Research shows that the more engagement students have with industry, the more likely they are to get a job once they finish school.

“Beacon is a leader in working with schools, communities, local businesses and industry to lift the aspirations of young Tasmanians and make sure they’re ready and committed to joining the workforce in an area they’re passionate about.  But we also need to make sure that industry is armed with the right knowledge and skills to take on young people too.

“Beacon is laying the groundwork for success and we need to ensure the work that we’re doing and other organisations like ours is recognised as invaluable to filling apprenticeships and traineeships.  Our role is to work collaboratively with the community, including businesses, to prepare kids for the challenges ahead and invest in them so they are ready to take on the opportunity of an apprenticeship or traineeship.

“Beacon is committed to working with the state and federal governments to help young people seize opportunities like getting an apprenticeship or traineeship and we look forward to seeing the investments announced last night rolled out in the community.”

 

 

Action Crew 7172 Awarded ABC Community Spirit Award

This week Action Crew 7172 were awarded the ABC Community Sprit Above and Beyond School Community Project Award. Collective ed. alongside the Sorell School and the Sorell Community have worked alongside the students of Action Crew 7172 to create engaging multimedia content that captures and presents the voices of the students and their community around issues that matter to them. The students have demonstrated exceptional growth in skills and confidence and have put forward their ideas and concepts in a way that have created broad interest.

We are so proud of the work of Action Crew 7172 and congratulate all involved, particularly the students themselves for all of their hard work and commitment.

The image profiled here is of the some of the Action Crew students during their radio interview with ABC Hobart during the awards process. For more information on the ABC Community Spirit Awards, go to – https://ab.co/communityspiritawards

 

Youth of Sorell team up to solve global challenges on a local scale

From tackling plastic pollution to saying no to racism, no issue is too big for Action Crew 7172.

Action Crew 7172 is a Collective ed. initiative in Sorell which sees students of Sorell School explore how producing short films can be used as a tool to communicate their ideas and encourage students to participate in education and the broader community. Across six sites in Tasmania, Collective ed is exploring how a place based approach to education can positively impact year 12 attainment and meaningful pathways for young people.

Action Crew 7172 is a student led initiative, guided by and with the support of teachers and the Collective ed. team with skillsets in video making, community development and youth leadership. The school now has a Pop Up Studio with outstanding equipment including multiple video cameras, mics and green screens. The students take the lead- performing every role in the crew- camera, sound, script, direction interviewing and editing. They also develop transferable skills such as empathy, new ways of communicating, leadership and teamwork. The development of these skills is considered crucial by Collective ed. for young people to pursue meaningful post-school pathways in the 21st century, one of the initiative’s main goals.

Action Crew 7172 work of the principle “Nothing about us, without us.”

The students describe it as an opportunity to explore their curiosity. It is a way for them to find out things they did not know we were interested in. As one of the students puts it, “to explore things is the essence of curiosity.

Creating a platform where curiosity can flourish is important to Collective ed. as it helps students stay engaged in school and identify post-school pathways that they are interested in.

Action Crew is one piece of a bigger puzzle that is being laid by Collective ed. It functions as a foundational corner piece for the long-term goals of Collective ed. where a new system can be built that supports all young people to complete year 12 and continue on a meaningful post-school pathway.

This year, Action Crew is designing social change projects to tackle real world challenges. We had a chat with the students from the crew to learn more about each project.

Tackling plastic pollution by encouraging the local community to sew their own boomerang bags

Change makers:

Tahlia
Lloyd
Lacey
Lilly

Boomerang bags is an existing world wide project where people from communities come in and sew tote bags to reduce the use of plastic bags and create conversations about the issue of plastic and pollution. The team explains;

“It is called boomerang bags because it keeps giving back to the community.”

There are more than 1100 boomerang bag communities in the world. With plastic pollution being a global issue and affecting Sorell and the community, Sorell students Tahlia, Lloyd, Lacey and Lilly think it is time for Sorell to get sewing. They believe even small things can make a big difference saying;

“if we can get the Sorell community involved and actively thinking about their plastic consumption, hopefully, there can be a few less beautiful animals suffocating because of the human race”.

This year, the team is calling on their peers to join the project. They will make a promotional film to share information about the boomerang bags project and why we urgently need to act on plastic pollution.

Importantly, they are also looking outside of the school and calling on the whole of the community to get involved. To celebrate Sorell’s upcoming bicentenary this year 2021, they want to make at least 200 bags as a gift to the community. They are inviting anyone interested in fighting plastic pollution and celebrating Sorell to join one or more of their boomerang bag sewing bees. If you want to learn more about ways to get involved, reach out to boomerang bags: boomerangbags.sorell@gmail.com

Bringing a world wide public art project to Sorell 

Change makers:

Isaac
Doug
Amelia
Deakin
Travis

In a Tasmania first, the students behind Sorell INSIDE OUT will photograph 200 portraits of young people in the community and exhibit these as part of a global initiative known as the INSIDE OUT Project.

The production team, made up by Isaac, Doug, Amelia and Deakin along with other interested students, will capture images of “awesome young people in Sorell” and print and display these portraits around the town as part of Sorell’s bi-centennial celebration. The team says too often, young people are not invited to decision making;

“Young people have brilliant ideas to make this world a better place”

“Action Crew is led by the principle that there will be nothing about us, without us. This is one piece in that puzzle and we are part of laying it out”

The production team is looking forward to working with the community to create and display the portraits to acknowledge the importance of young people. Sorell INSIDE OUT will be exhibited in public places throughout the Sorell township as part of the bi-centennial celebration. Their contribution will also be the first entry to date by the Tasmanian state to the global project putting Sorell on the map and be documented as part of the international platform insideoutproject.net/en.

Sorell School: it is time to fly the flag!

Change makers
Emma
Riley
Pascall
Kane

The project “Let’s fly the rainbow flag @ Sorell School” is an initiative to share a simple message of love is love. The team behind the initiative, Emma, Riley and Pascall wants to create an environment at school where everyone can be themselves and no one feels the need to hide their sexuality. Part of this, they say, is the simple action of seeing the rainbow flag raised on the school grounds.

They say;

“We believe in more kindness and no judgement. Everyone should be able to be their true selves, at all times”.

The team reached out to the Victorian organisation Raising Rainbows which aims to aim to raise awareness, educate communities and ultimately, reduce the instances of LGBTIQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/gender diverse, intersex and queer) related bullying in regional schools and communities. With their support, they are launching a campaign at the school to introduce the rainbow flag. This includes building a business case for the cause as well as identifying the cost of adding another flag pole to the school and the flag itself.

The goal is to gain enough support from peers and the school as well as secure the finances needed to introduce the rainbow flag at Sorell School by the end of this year.

Sorell School says NO to Racism

Change makers
Leetesha
Maggie
Emma
Ryan

Tired of hearing racist insults, Leetesha, Maggie and Emma decided they wanted to do something to stop it.

“We knew we had to do something. People use racism slurs way too much and it is hurtful”, the team said.

Together, they came up with the idea to launch a bumper sticker campaign to raise awareness and stop racism at Sorell School.

People will be encouraged to use the stickers on their cars, laptops, windows or in other publicly visible places to show their support to stop racism. Through this, the team hopes to see the stickers become a common sight at the school and throughout Sorell.

“Racism is an issue that is affecting all communities. We hope our stickers will raise awareness beyond Sorell as people travel in cars to Hobart or other places in the state. Everyone should do their part to stop racism.”


To learn more about Collective ed. Sorell and their initiatives, keep an eye out on Beacon Foundation’s social media or subscribe to our newsletter. 

About Collective ed.
Collective ed. is a five year initiative launched in 2017 by Beacon Foundation exploring how a place based approach to education can positively impact year 12 attainment and meaningful pathways for young people. Collective ed. consists of six sites and communities; Jordan River, Bayview, Sorell, Ulverstone (also known as Collective ed. Central Coast) and Deloraine/Meander Valley (recently rebranded to ‘Thrive’ by the community). Collective ed. is funded by Paul Ramsay Foundation and the Tasmanian Government. For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

Beacon Foundation joins digital inclusion alliance to call for the closure of Tasmania’s digital divide

Lead by TasCOSS, the peak body for Tasmania’s community services industry, Beacon Foundation along with TasICT, The Smith Family, Carers Tasmania, COTA Tasmania, NILS Tasmania and Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania have joined forces and formed the Tasmanian digital inclusion alliance to urge all political leaders to commit to policies and actions that improve digital access, affordability and ability to ensure no Tasmanian is left offline.

TasCOSS CEO Adrienne Picone said Tasmania was the most digitally disadvantaged state in the country, with more than 65,000 Tasmanians unable to participate online.

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the digital divide in our state that without urgent action is at risk of becoming even wider,” Ms Picone said.

“Access to digital services is essential for daily life, in the same way as electricity and water, and as the first state to see the full rollout of the nbn network, we should be making the most of the opportunities that digital technology brings.

“From remote schooling, to working from home or researching and applying for jobs, having access to devices and the internet has never been more vital.”

The Tasmanian digital inclusion alliance have prepared  Joint Statement on Digital Inclusion seeking commitments from all candidates and parties to a range of initiatives including improving Tasmania’s Australian Digital Inclusion Index score to at least the national average by 2025, introducing a telecommunications concession, and the provision of devices and dongles/data to all State Government school students from upper primary through to Year 12.

Beacon Foundation look forward to working with the alliance to ensure an active closure of the digital divide.

For more information, please refer to the 2021 State Election Joint Statement on Digital Inclusion.

Action Crew 7172 students featured in state wide campaign to raise funds for Beacon Foundation

Beacon Foundation are excited to announce we are one of three chosen charities in Aurora’s new Double The Plus Campaign. This means that every customer who signs up to use the aurora+ app up until May 23, 2021, gets to choose a charity that Aurora donates $30 to. Along with Beacon Foundation, the other charities include Speak Up Stay ChatTY and Cancer Council Tasmania.

The campaign will run across social media, TV and billboards. We had a great time filming our promotional video with Sorell School, the principal Jenny Cowling and Action Crew 7172.

Action Crew 7172 is a Collective ed. project which sees students explore how producing films can be used as a tool to communicate their ideas and encourage students to participate in education and the broader community. Action Crew 7172 work of the principle “Nothing about us without us.”

Students in Sorell Schools Pop Up Studio take the lead- performing every role in the crew- camera, sound, script, direction interviewing and editing, whilst building the essential skills of empathy, creativity, leadership and teamwork.

This year, Action Crew will turn their newly discovered potential into reality, from video making to change making.  Action Crew is designing social change projects; such as tackling plastic pollution by encouraging the local community to sew their own boomerang bags, taking part in a global people’s art project, saying no to racism and flying the rainbow flag at Sorell School.

 

Lilly is the Sorell School student starring in the video along with the rest of Action Crew; Mack, Jessica, Hayden and Dean.

 

Watch the video:

 

To learn more about the aurora+ campaign. Visit their website.

 

 

 

From a Beacon student to a MyRoad mentor

Recently, Beacon received two photos of an old Beacon brooch and a Student Ambassador Award from Selena Wang. Selena Wang is today a consultant at Ernst & Young and had just signed up for the first time as a MyRoad mentor volunteer through her work.

Already in High School, Selena was part of an initiative called the Beacon Ambassador program which helped young people build leadership skills. She also participated in our work-readiness workshops, High Impact Programs (HIP).  She shared the impact the programs had had on her and said they had been valuable for my personal development”. Intrigued, we asked if Selena would take the time to meet (virtually!) to tell her story and what it was like to now find herself on the other side, as a mentor in MyRoad 

Hi Selena, you’re now a MyRoad mentor, how come you decided to volunteer with Beacon Foundation?   

I wanted to volunteer with the Beacon Foundation because I wanted to give back. I had myself participated in Beacon programs when I was a student at my old high school. I’m lucky too because I can volunteer during work hours as part of our employee engagement program.   

We heard you volunteer a fair bit. What else do you do?  

I am a mentor on an all-girls robotics team in which we build a 50kg robot every summer that participates in the FIRST Robotics Competition. I also volunteer with the FIRST Lego League each year as a judge or referee. Additionally, I volunteer with Youth Without Borders, a youth-led non-for-profit organisation. In the past, I have mainly supported the Spark Engineering Camp initiative in a managing capacity. I am currently serving as a board member in the organisation 

Beacon Foundation focus on supporting youth transition from education to employment, why is this important for you to support?  

When you transition from education to employment, there is a change from one environment to another and a shift in mindset is often required. In high school, the teachers will remind us about handing in homework. At universitythe reminders are less frequent and by the time you enter the workforce the responsibility to deliver is left to you. We are now essentially in charge of our own careerGiving students the opportunity to participate in programs like MyRoad and to learn from professionals to gain new perspectives is one piece of the puzzle to help students prepare for their future. 

After being a mentor at MyRoad, was there anything the students said that made an impact on you? 

There was one section of the program where we talked about resilience. I was quite impressed by the students who shared stories about their personal experiences of displaying resilience and how they have tackled challenges they may have faced. It gave me confidence they will be able to continue to show resilience in their chosen studies and careers 

What would you say to others who are considering volunteering but may not have made up their mind just yet?  

Do it! I would highly recommend volunteering, it’s a worthwhile and rewarding experienceYou are sharing valuable knowledge with students who are very interested in what you have to say and would appreciate the insights from a conversation with a working professional.  

About MyRoad

The MyRoad mentor program is run online and gives students an opportunity to talk directly with an industry mentor. Close to 1000 trained mentors (all volunteers) from diverse industries and backgrounds are matched with students from schools across Australia where they meet in a supervised online environment. Mentors guide students through a set of 6 structured modules, all aligned to the Australian Curriculum for General Capabilities and Work Studies. In response to COVID-19 lockdowns, students can now also participate in MyRoad from home once a school has made a booking.

For more information about MyRoad and how to sign up your students, click here. To register as a MyRoad volunteer mentor, please fill in this form.