All Australian youth have the right to education, opportunities, possibilities and dreams. But sadly, this is not the reality. Students from low socio-economic backgrounds in Australia are still often three years behind students from more advantaged areas.
Through circumstances beyond their control, their future is limited before it begins. And too easily it becomes a vicious cycle.
- Almost one quarter of youth from the lowest SES backgrounds in Australia do not complete Year 12 or equivalent by age 19. (Source: ACARA, 2019)
- By their mid-20s, less than half of these students enter university (Source: Productivity Commission, 2019)
These sobering statistics mean that students from low SES backgrounds:
- are less likely to finish school…
- which means they are less likely to go on to further study…
- which means they are less likely to gain meaningful employment…
- which means they are more likely to rely on social welfare…
- all of which impacts their earning capacity and opportunities for a sustainable, fulfilling career that contributes back to our community and helps them break their cycle of disadvantage.
By comparison, providing mentoring and financial support at high school can change the life of these students to look like this:
- Students seek and gain leadership positions in school…
- complete Year 12…
- experience reduced financial strain on themselves and their families, allowing them to focus on study…
- create goals and broaden post-school options…
- successfully apply for tertiary study…
- benefit from workplace experience and the creation of a network of corporate contacts and like-minded peers…
- increase their aspirations and confidence
- and become role models for siblings and the rest of their school community.
‘The scholarship brought ambition and drive to myself – but mostly to my younger siblings, especially my little sister. It’s been one of the most motivating aspects of this experience which has pushed me more.’ – Scholar
The young people we work with also face challenges that many of us can’t even imagine. These might include trauma, domestic violence, cultural barriers, poverty and carer or financial responsibilities.
Of our 2020 applicants:
- 69% were female
- 53% had at least one parent unemployed
- 31% had both parents with education level below Year 12
- 48% were NESB (non-English speaking backgrounds)
- 23% had suffered traumatic past experiences
- 15% lived in precarious housing
- 13% were refugee
- 9% were First Nations
- 4% identified as LGBQTI
100% of applications demonstrated extraordinary levels of disadvantage that, sadly, so many young Australians are experiencing today.
Without education, the ability for these young people to pursue a fulfilling career and earn a sustainable income for themselves and their families is significantly diminished. Without support, the disadvantage they experience today is likely to continue into adulthood and onto the next generation.
Intervention at high school enables the opportunity for change.
Click here to see how you can help.
The legacy of a scholarship delivers a ripple effect that benefits not just the student, but their family, school and community. Achieving their potential means less welfare reliance, demonstrating that it is possible to break the cycle of disadvantage, irrespective of family background, ethnicity, religious persuasion or any other distinction.