Beacon Foundation

Organisation: Beacon Foundation
Location: across Australia

Since 1988, Beacon Foundation has been working to reduce youth unemployment in Australia.

And with youth unemployment approaching or exceeding 20% in some areas of Australia, their work is now more important than ever.

Beacon’s vision is for ‘an Australia in which our young people have the desire, the motivation and the opportunity to reach their full individual potential’.

The not-for-profit organisation currently works in over 120 secondary schools and communities in disadvantaged areas across the country to help young Australians develop positive post-school pathways to further education, training or meaningful employment.

'Effective business–school relationships are key to the success of the Beacon model, and form a strong theme in our approach,' said Val Ridley, National Programs Manager of Beacon Foundation.

Beacon’s model involves bringing businesses together with schools, students, parents and the local community to provide young people with positive role models, hands-on experiences that create a greater understanding of the world of work and real opportunities to help secure their future.

Beacon Foundation’s 2013 Annual outcomes report speaks of the organisation’s enduring positive impact. It indicates that 98.7% of Beacon students were fully engaged in work, education or training nine months after completing Year 10. This is 11.6 percentage points higher than the national average for 16–17-year-olds from similar backgrounds.

In addition, 93% of Beacon students were in work or training after completing Year 12. This is nearly 4 percentage points higher than other students from similar backgrounds.

'Through the establishment of a Business Partnership Group, where the development and ownership of a community-shared vision for change is implemented, Beacon schools become the hub of the community,' said Ms Ridley.

'Educational outcomes are enhanced through strategic and meaningful business–school partnerships, and a whole-school culture towards a collaborative approach to improving educational outcomes for young people is achieved.'

But Beacon is not resting on its laurels. 2014 has seen the organisation embark on a new refined service delivery model, which is strongly focused on creating sustainable, community-owned programs with a shared vision for positive change.

'The model is now a full-school approach, with stakeholder capacity building a critical component – largely through our Collaborative Classroom professional development workshops,' Val Ridley said.

'The emphasis is on building and maintaining sustainable business–school partnerships, providing authentic industry exposure both through our Business Blackboard lessons (industry focused curriculum) and various onsite workplace experiences,' she said.

The new model will also incorporate the highly successful Real Futures Generation project, which matches work-ready Beacon students with suitable employers, into the wider Beacon model.

Ms Ridley said that the changes to Beacon's service delivery model were motivated by a desire to reach as many students as possible through the organisation.

'There are 1,500 low socio-economic status (SES) schools in Australia. Beacon has worked in more than 200 of them. Our motivation was to take our vast experience and learnings, and refine our model to be more effective, efficient and particularly more sustainable, she said.

'Our end game has not changed, success to us has always been to support young people to successfully transition from education to employment through improved career development and increased industry and community involvement in secondary education.'


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