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 is working with some of Tasmania’s fastest growing industries to inspire students and create a job-ready generation of Tasmanians

Beacon is working with some of Tasmania’s fastest growing industries to inspire students and create a job-ready generation of Tasmanians. Beacon CEO, Scott Harris, said the program aimed to create a win-win situation, where growing businesses able to expand their workforce and young Tasmanians able to get a great job.

Helping the next generation of employees dress for success

The Beacon Foundation is working to create a job-ready generation and today is helping young female students at Bayview Secondary College learn about preparing for job interviews and life in the workforce.

Tasmanian Training Awards shows school-based programs are vital for creating a job-ready generation

Tasmanian Training Awards shows school-based programs are vital for creating a job-ready generation. The Beacon Foundation is committed to creating a job-ready generation of Tasmanians. Beacon CEO, Scott Harris, said that connecting kids, schools, communities and businesses was having a massive positive impact.

Rio Tinto providing work exposure opportunities for Year 11 students

Rio Tinto providing work exposure opportunities for Year 11 students. On Wednesday 25 August eight Year 11 students were fortunate to visit Rio Tinto at Bell Bay for a tour to learn more about the aluminium smelter and the range of career options available. 

Beacon partners with Fairbrother for building and construction program

Year 10 students from Kings Meadows High School attended a Beacon Growth Industry Preparation Program (GrIPP) today to learn about careers in building and construction. The day included a site tour of the UTAS northern transformation at Inveresk, hearing about the diversity of jobs and innovations across the build.

Fairbrother Apprentice Program Manager, Matthew Scrimgeour, co-facilitated the program alongside Beacon’s Jake Snepvangers. Matthew and a team of Fairbrother mentors shared industry insights and advice on how to pursue a career in the sector, including key skills and attributes employers are looking for.

Thank you to Matthew and the Fairbrother mentors for making this invaluable opportunity possible for the students. Thank you also to David Cox – Hawthorn Football Club for providing access to the Hawks boardroom for the day!

Beacon and BioMar working to create a job-ready generation

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

Today, students from the Latrobe and Deloraine High Schools and staff at BioMar’s fish food plant at Wesley Vale are participating in a day-long immersive session that will inspire students and show BioMar’s staff how to unlock the potential of our next generation.

Beacon CEO, Scott Harris, said these visits, organised by Beacon, were vital.

“We know that when young people engage with local businesses it has a really positive impact,” Mr Harris said.

‘Evidence suggests students who participate in four or more industry engagements whilst at school are 86% more likely to engage in further education, training, or employment after school.

Mann, 2012 Education & Employers1

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

“Today’s program includes site tours and mentoring from BioMar staff so the students can get excited about the range of career options open to them.  We also talk to the students about what they need to do to make sure they have the best possible chance to start a career that they will love once they finish school.

“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.

“BioMar is a really valuable part of our community and is creating fantastic career opportunities on the North West.  Even during COVID, they have continued to increase their workforce.

“Taking students to BioMar helps show students what their future could look like if they complete their education.  There is a bright future for young Tasmanians on the North West and Beacon is working hard to help young Tasmanians see that.”

Industry Live – How to impress your new employer

Registrations are open!

Join our next Industry Live, secure your spot today.

These events are open to students across Australia with a focus on schools with an ICSEA less than 1000 and students in years 7-12.

When: Monday, 30 August

Time: 2.00pm to 2.30pm AEDT
(plus an optional 15 min Q&A at the end).

Topic: Skills Series – How to impress your new employer

Our panellist, Lisa (pictured) is the Supervisor of the Komatsu Customer Support Centre. Come along and find out what she does in her job, as she shares her practical tips on how to impress your new employer.

Schools can register below to receive the Zoom link to the event on 30 August.

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 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.