ABCN’s long-term objective is to see young people enjoying a higher rate of employment and a better quality of employment.

One way we measure the impact of our work is through longitudinal studies of students who participated in our flagship GOALS program between 2005 and 2008. Our surveys found that their average income was $60,000 in 2018, compared to the national average of $37,600 for 24-year-olds (ABS, 2016).

Another piece of evidence is anecdotal stories of where alumni are working now. Here are some examples that demonstrate the powerful generational change our work creates.

Emily Winter, MySmart Marketing Executive

In 2007, 15-year-old Emily Winter participated in GOALS program. Here she reminisces about how this experience changed her view of herself and helped her to channel her creativity.

Nathaniel Diong, Future Minds Network CEO

Nathaniel participated in a pilot Entrepreneurs Unearthed program when he was in Year 11. Now CEO of the Future Minds Network, he tells future ABCN students: ‘Fail as much as you can!’

Andrew Phong, Program Officer 

‘Timid, lacking in self-esteem and a bit lost and confused.’ That’s how Andrew described himself at age 15 before going into his GOALS program in Year 9 at Cabramatta High School. He says the reassurance and advice he got from his mentor gave him ‘insane levels of empowerment and motivation’. The experience ultimately influenced his decision to go on to study business at university.

Fadila Fidina, Software Engineer

Fadila was one of 12 winners of the first-ever scholarships offered by the ABCN Foundation in 2013. The former Bankstown Girls High School student says it was a ‘pivotal moment’ because without the confidence she gained from the Accelerate program, she wouldn’t have been as proactive in chasing opportunities later on, including winning a scholarship from UTS. ‘Doing this program definitely changed my life,’ Fadila says.

Kristy, Victorian student

In 2019, Kristy did a Focus program when she was in Year 10. Then, in 2020, COVID-19 hit. Watch as Kristy explains how her ‘aha’ moment during the program was all about looking after wellbeing – a lesson that was crucial in helping her navigate remote learning and a difficult period of lockdown in Victoria.

Joshua Joannidies, KPMG employee

In 2013, 16-year-old Joshua was going to school in what he describes as a ‘rough neighbourhood’ in Sydney’s Campbelltown region. Meeting a mentor from Minto, a neighbouring suburb, through an Aspirations program, gave him a new perspective on the business world and his potential place in it. ‘What most surprised me about doing an ABCN program was that big companies are willing to help us,’ he says.

Lauren Castino, High School Teacher

Gamilaraay woman and ABCN alumna Lauren Castino recalls how doing a GOALS program 15 years ago set her on a different path.

From an early age, First Nations student Lauren knew the decisions she made at school would matter more than most. Her mum didn’t complete school and no one in her immediate family had attended university.

‘Most of my Indigenous peers and cousins left school before Year 12. It would have been acceptable, and an easy option, for me to do the same. GOALS confirmed my dream to be more. It showed me that being a professional woman was something normal.’

Read more about Lauren

Joseph Charrouf, Westpac employee

Joseph Charrouf entered the three-year Accelerate program, run by the ABCN Foundation, in 2015. One of eight siblings, Joseph’s family migrated to Australia from Lebanon in search of a better life.

Joseph credits his ABCN scholarship with getting him to where he is today: studying information technology and business at UTS while also working part-time as an Associate Business Analyst at Westpac, one of ABCN’s business partners.

‘The insight I received from my mentor was invaluable. That it came from someone who wanted to see me succeed, is priceless.’

Read more about Joseph

Janet Sou, Stockland employee

After participating in several ABCN programs while at high school, Janet Sou is now a Customer Insights Analyst at ABCN member company Stockland… where she is also one of about 200 ABCN volunteer mentors at the company.

‘Change doesn’t always work quickly. Change is subtle and it’s accumulated over time and numerous experiences.’

Read more about Janet

Joe Yakoub, EY employee

As a student at Tempe High School a decade ago, Joe had an early interest in business. But it was his participation in GOALS in Year 9 that helped his dream become a reality, with Joe now working as a senior consultant for EY, one of ABCN’s member companies.

‘The program really helped give me direction and greater insight into what I needed to do to get there.’

Read more about Joe

Michelle Lwin, Optus employee

Growing up in a Burmese migrant family, Michelle had little exposure to the corporate world. Today, Michelle is a graduate with Optus, one of ABCN’s founding member companies, and a member of the ABCN Alumni Committee.

‘ABCN really helped to grow my confidence. Through GOALS, I learnt to believe in myself … My life would be very different if I hadn’t participated in the ABCN programs.’

Read more about Michelle

Michael, Project Manager

It definitely broadened my mindset. Going to a low socio-economic school, you sometimes think that things aren’t possible. Whereas doing GOALS, getting exposure to high corporate business and seeing how it’s possible to achieve that, it just made me work harder to get there.

Jakob, Chef

It was a confidence boost in terms of thinking towards the future; back then I wasn’t too concerned. But when you do the program it gives you a spark and opens your eyes to go: “Okay, maybe I can do something, maybe there is something to look forward to after school. Doing GOALS I got an idea of what I could be. Being interested in food, I would try all the things at lunch and that’s what inspired me.’

Lesca, studying a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine

It was good to know that you had someone to believe in you. I wish I could go back and thank my mentor for giving me her time and giving me adult support – GOALS had a real impact on my life. I still apply what I learnt in my life todayI was able to be a successful mentor and facilitator during the Veterinary Medicine Year 1 program for new and future students.

Clay, Chef

It was a very big glimpse into the working world, what to expect and how to achieve it. GOALS helped me set goals and develop some sort of idea of how hard I have to work to get where I wanted to go. As a child you don’t listen to your parents. Meeting with someone who is a third party who confirms what your parents say really drives it home, because as a child you rebel against your parents.

See statistics about the impact individual programs have had on participants by clicking on selected programs here.

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