We’re ramping up the number of sessions we’re running, using a safe mix of digital and face-to-face formats.
In Term 3, we have massively increased the number of programs we’re running, using a mix of digital and face-to-face formats depending on the location of the program – and always with safety as our top priority.
It’s been a challenging first half of the year – rapidly transforming our content to digital, training our team to become digital concierges, navigating online tech gremlins, reorganising schedules around school closures – but we’re getting there. And the smiles we see from students and mentors when they are finally reconnected make the hard work worthwhile.
When we embarked on our digital transformation work last year, we wondered how the impact of online programs would compare to their face-to-face counterparts. We’ve been delighted to see that student and mentor evaluations show similar results. Some students have even told us that digital is better. ‘This is teaching us how we may need to communicate in the workforce when we leave school,’ a student in a Future Thinkers session told us. Future thinking indeed.
Since March, we’ve developed the digital pilot model for four of our core programs: GOALS, Focus, Future Thinkers and Aspirations, learning and tweaking every session as we go. We’re also piloting some new digital programs – a two-hour Empower session, which covers key skills and mindsets essential for today’s changing world of work, and EY Solve IT, the first time we have explicitly mapped our content to the NSW Year 9 mathematics curriculum.
Most of our sessions involve an ABCN facilitator in the classroom with the students, with mentors joining online. Where schools aren’t allowing visitors on-site, we facilitate from home. And where schools and companies are allowing excursions, we facilitate at a member company office. Flexibility is the new normal.
Here are some examples of the many ways we’re delivering programs nationwide:
Above is NSW program manager Ola Radka at Cabramatta High School running a Future Thinkers program with Macquarie Group mentors online. One student told us: ‘This program is new and different and really fun. I’ll be telling my friends about it and encouraging them to join up for future programs. The mentors were great and really interesting and easy to talk to.’
Here’s NSW program manager Becky Robertson demonstrating how to facilitate safely at Kogarah High School. Stockland mentors joined the Focus program from their home offices. One of the Year 11 girls told us: ‘In just one session I have come out learning so much. I’m believing in myself more, confident and have strategies to put into my everyday life.’
Lucky South Australia, where students are allowed to travel to our member company offices. This was an Innovate session held at PwC’s offices. Rest assured everyone was social distancing in the room!
If you’re interested in mentoring, contact your ABCN member company champion to find out more about our programs.