Earlier this year we ran an extremely successful pilot program called Engage – a mentoring program designed for high school students that targets critical public speaking and communication skills. The program was developed in response to concerns that students from high-needs schools have minimal opportunities to acquire the skills that will enable them speak confidently and comfortably in front of others.
Mentors from member companies PwC and Hall & Wilcox were joined by Carlton Football Club to participate in the pilot program with a group of Year 10 students from Lalor Secondary College in Victoria. Sessions were hosted at PwC with students and mentors working in small groups to explore non-verbal communication, structuring a speech and the art of delivering a speech.
At the end of the program, 100% of both students and mentors reported that they had greater knowledge of the skills required to be an effective public speaker and increased confidence to stand up and deliver a speech. Student feedback also showed that 90% felt they had more effective communication skills and improved team work.
The teachers were also impressed, with one commenting, ‘I have been the school coordinator for a range of ABCN programs over the last six years. Engage has had the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time. These skills are critical for Year 10s and I can’t thank the mentors enough’.
We look forward to rolling out Engage to our member companies and schools throughout next year.