ABCN is committed to measuring the impact of our programs, both to ensure we are making the difference we intend, and to constantly improve our programs.

We measure the impact on students in three ways:

  • Immediate impact: All teachers and high school students are surveyed after all programs. We have strong data validity with a response rate of more than 70%.
  • Medium-term impact: We collect Year 12 completion rates and admission to university rates for our GOALS and Aspirations students, one to four years after they complete the program.
  • Long-term impact: We have surveyed 50 former GOALS students from a decade ago about their reflections on the program and their current employment status. We intend to continue to build this alumni database.

Immediate impact

In our post-program surveys in 2020, students were asked whether they agree/disagree with a statement, reflecting on where they were at the start of the program versus where they see themselves at the end of the program. The percentages below comprise the percentage of students who agree or strongly agree for each of our core programs.

Accelerate (ABCN Foundation scholarship program)

  • 95% of students now know how to set, review and achieve short- and long-term goals, compared to 51% before the program (43% net increase)
  • 95% of students now understand their strengths, skills and abilities in relation to study, work and personal life, compared to 42% before the program (53% net increase)
  • 82% of students now actively and regularly seek out new challenges as a way of improving, compared to 39% before the program (43% net decrease)

Aspirations

  • 97% of students now feel prepared for the world of work, compared to 31% before the program (66% net increase)
  • 98% of students now understand their own ‘personal brand’, compared to 34% before the program (64% net increase)
  • 100% of students are now aware of the skills that employers are looking for, compared to 43% before the program (57% net increase)

Empower

  • 94% of students now understand strategies to help build resilience and mental wellbeing, compared to 55% before the program (39% net increase)
  • 99% of students now know that making time to connect, being active, taking notice and constantly learning are important to look after themselves, compared to 62% before the program (37% net increase)
  • 93% of students can now communicate ideas to a wide range of people, compared to 56% before the program (37%)

Focus 

  • 89% of students now see themselves as leaders, compared to 40% before the program (49% net increase)
  • 94% of students are now aware of their strengths that can make them good leaders, compared to 37% before the program (57% net increase)
  • 87% of students now have confidence in their leadership potential, compared to 33% before the program (55% net increase)

Focus 2

  • 91% of students now see themselves as ambitious people, compared to 43% before the program (48% net increase)
  • 87% of students now have confidence in their leadership skills, compared to 37% before the program (50% net increase)
  • 98% of students now understand the importance of emotional intelligence, compared to 37% before the program (61% net increase)

Future Thinkers

  • 96% of students now understand the principles of design thinking, compared to 24% before the program (72% net increase)
  • 94% of students are now able to develop creative solutions to problems, compared to 55% before the program (38% net increase)
  • 89% of students now feel confident in coming up with solutions to programs, compared to 47% before the program (42% net increase)

GOALS

  • 91% of students now know how their strengths relate to the business world, compared to 40% before the program (51% net increase)
  • 89% of students now feel comfortable meeting and getting to know new people, compared to 38% before the program (51% net increase)
  • 91% of students are now aware of a wide range of career options, compared to 57% before the program (34% net increase)

Innovate

  • 93% of students are now interested in STEM subjects, compared to 57% before the program (36% net increase)
  • 86% of students would like to continue to study STEM subjects in the future, compared to 43% before the program (43% net increase)
  • 86% of students now feel confident in themselves, compared to 43% before the program (43% net increase)

Interview 2 Impress

  • 93% of students now understand how to prepare for a job interview, compared to 32% before the program (61% net increase)
  • 90% of students are now aware of the skills that employers are looking for, compared to 34% before the program (56% net increase)
  • 89% of students now understand how to answer interview questions based on their strengths and previous experiences, compared to 37% before the program (53% net increase)

My Career Rules

  • 83% of students now have a better understanding of what jobs and career paths are available after school
  • 85% of students now know that it’s okay to fail or to change their mind about career paths
  • 82% of students now are more motivated to think about and explore careers and jobs after school

As well as measuring quantitative impact, we also collect qualitative impact statements from the programs. A selection is below:


‘I learnt that you have to value your strengths and focus on them, achieve your goals step by step. I also learnt that failure is a part of your success, failure makes you learn from your mistake and makes you better. I learnt to be confident and take charge of a situation if needed and I learnt different leadership skills.’


‘The most useful thing I’ve learnt at this program is to escape my comfort zone and look into my potential because I am highly capable of attaining my goals.’


‘The most useful thing I learnt was about self-discipline and self-management. I personally am really disorganised and it’s a big obstacle in my personal and school life. Talking with the girls and Jackie (my mentor) really helped me focus and map out what I need to do in order to become the best version of myself.’


‘I will stop seeking others for validation, I no longer wish to seek others’ approval to be myself.’


‘I will apply it in my daily life by being more open to people and to communicate more as I’m quite shy and reserved.’ 


‘The most important thing I have learnt from my mentor is that it’s okay to fail sometimes because it is all a part of the process of succeeding. It’s also a learning experience of how to improve yourself as a person.’


‘The most important things I have learned from my mentors is that we lead by example. So whatever I do, those around me will follow.’


‘It is such a great opportunity to talk to experienced people who can help you. It is so rare to find a program which allows you to interact and be mentored by professionals.’


‘My Focus experience had been beneficial and remarkable. It helps young girls realise their potential as leaders and this strengthens their personality and self-awareness.’


‘I love my mentors so much as they shared many different perspectives in their careers.’


 

Medium-term impact

ABCN’s ultimate goal is to support young people from low socio-economic schools to achieve more than they thought was possible. An important factor in that is for young people to have a wide range of choices available to them. Education unlocks choices and there is significant evidence that completion of Year 12, in particular, is associated with better long-term prospects for young people.

On that basis, ABCN collects from schools the Year 12 completion rates and admission to university rates for our GOALS and Aspirations students. These programs are aimed at Year 9 students and Year 10/11 students respectively, so the data on the Year 12 completion and admission to university rates is collected between one and four years after the students complete the program.

The data below shows the strong school completion rates and admission rates to university for these former students, compared with other disadvantaged students. We absolutely acknowledge that the success of the students in completing Year 12 is due to a wide range of factors, of which ABCN is one. However, we are extremely proud of these results, and our contribution to them.

  • 90% of students who participated in ABCN’s flagship programs GOALS or Aspirations completed Year 12 or its equivalent in 2019, compared with an 82% national average and 68% of disadvantaged students.                      Source: The Mitchell Institute at Victoria University 2020
  • 62% of students who participated in GOALS or Aspirations accepted university study offers in 2020, compared with a 60% national average and 46% of disadvantaged students.                                                                                    Source: Productivity Commission 2016

Long-term impact

ABCN’s goal is to support young people from low socio-economic schools to achieve more than they thought was possible. Our ultimate aim is that these young people successfully transition to further learning and employment, and thrive well beyond the school gates. To understand how our participants are doing post-school, we managed to get in touch with 50 young people who undertook ABCN programs in our early days; they are now in their mid-20sWhile so many factors drive the outcomes, we are incredibly proud of where these young people are several years on.

We found that 90% of the former GOALS students were fully engaged in education, employment and/or training in their mid-20s, compared with 63% for low socio-economic young people.  We also found that their average income was $60,000 in 2018, compared to the national average of $37,600 for 24-year-olds (ABS, 2016).

As well as these quantitative measures, we captured qualitative comments from them about the impact of the program, 10 years on. Some of these are below:


‘GOALS gave me the exposure to opportunities that inspired me to do better. Be better. It changed my thinking about my future at the right time in my life. I didn’t know what professionalism looked like in the real world. The mentoring and the skills that I gained from the program influenced my approach to everything I’ve done since, whether applying for a casual job, going to university, or starting my career. And the fact that I was able to relate to people that I wouldn’t have otherwise had contact with, made all the difference for me. When a high-end professional has no obligation to mentor a kid from the west, it gives you a grounding. And when you have an opportunity to give back, you do so, as it benefits the kids more than you realise. I believe that being a role model is an important element in a successful career, and that we should all take on these opportunities when we can.’

Christopher, GOALS class of 2008, Graphic Designer


‘Before GOALS, I didn’t feel confident in relation to public speaking or meeting new people. I hadn’t been in Australia for very long and my English wasn’t that good. It was a transformation for me from being quiet and timid, to finishing school at the top of the class, and as a prefect. It was like I knew I could do things but I just couldn’t do it. GOALS gave me that confidence to do what I really wanted to do – it was very empowering. My career has been a domino effect that GOALS really kicked off.’

Maria, GOALS class of 2008, Strategic Recruiter


‘It was an eye-opening program. It forced me to think about where I’m going to go in this world. Prior to the program I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I wasn’t doing well at school. I didn’t really understand the concept of where am I going and how to make a successful life a reality. It really did make an impact. I’ve got 12 nieces and nephews, and heading into high school they don’t have any clue what they want to do. I’ve taken it on myself to take them into my workplace. I remember being in the city and seeing people in nice suits and nice cars – I thought: “I’m gonna get that, no matter what”. And I did.’

Malek, GOALS class of 2005, Accountant


‘GOALS gave me confidence. I had a lot more confidence than I did before the program, and the ability to set and achieve goals, even if they are small ones. Goal-setting is still something I do on a weekly basis, especially with work. But the confidence I have is beyond what I ever thought I would have. To never stop and never give up. Meeting new people and experiencing new things. Being out of my comfort zone helped a lot.’

Renee, GOALS class of 2005, Retail Manager


Read more reflections from ABCN alumni here.

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