Shires join forces in ter­tiary tran­si­tion

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS / PEOPLE - By DAVID MIMS

MANS­FIELD Shire to­gether with the Ru­ral City of Be­nalla have part­nered to de­velop ini­tia­tives to sup­port lo­cal young people tran­si­tion into fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment and train­ing.

The pro­gram, based around Face­book com­mu­ni­ca­tions, is de­signed to as­sist young people who are leav­ing Mans­field or Be­nalla ar­eas to pur­sue ca­reer and study in Mel­bourne or fur­ther afield.

Called “Wot­s4Me”, it is de­signed to help sup­port young people ex­plore their as­pi­ra­tions for ca­reer path­ways and fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion.

This col­lab­o­ra­tion is work­ing in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ways to pro­vide this as­sis­tance, through feed­back and in­for­ma­tion from people who have al­ready stud­ied and have re­turned to the area to work and live, a ter­tiary stu­dent buddy sys­tem, and two day tran­si­tion course.

Un­der­pin­ning this is the so­cial me­dia plat­form of Face­book, with a ‘Wot­s4Me’ page set up to de­velop two way com­mu­ni­ca­tions and net­work­ing be­tween young people.

Project of­fi­cer Amanda Al­dous from Be­nalla City is ask­ing for people who have pre­vi­ously left the area to pur­sue fur­ther stud­ies or em­ploy­ment, and have since re­turned to set­tle and work, to con­tact her.

“The com­mu­nity is keen to see young people re­turn, set­tle and con­tinue ca­reers lo­cally, and in­put from those who have done so will help us to bet­ter un­der­stand the ex­pe­ri­ences of these people and the process they went through,” said Ms Al­dous.

Such in­for­ma­tion can then be used to de­velop ways to help the next gen­er­a­tion of young people plan their fu­tures, while pro­mot­ing the value of re­turn­ing to their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to live and work.

The ter­tiary buddy sys­tem aims to link up stu­dents in their sec­ond, third or fourth year of study with first year stu­dents who are from the same town and study­ing at the same in­sti­tu­tion.

The idea is to help those new stu­dents tran­si­tion to ter­tiary life with the help of some­one fa­mil­iar with their own area and the ways of univer­sity.

The third as­pect is a two day ter­tiary tran­si­tion course which is be­ing run at MACE in Mans­field.

Based on a pro­gram run by Swin­burne Univer­sity, the course helps stu­dents who are about to en­ter ter­tiary study or fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion, ei­ther di­rectly from year 12, and those who have taken a gap year.

Some 14 stu­dents from Be­nalla, Wan­garatta and Mans­field at­tended this course last week.

“Cre­at­ing an open repos­i­tory for en­gage­ment, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and feed­back from young people is the ba­sis for the pro­gram,” said Ms Al­dous.

“There is a ded­i­cated Face­book page set up that pro­vides in­for­ma­tion about Wot­s4Me, and en­cour­ages con­ver­sa­tions and in­put that will fur­ther as­sist young people and their as­pi­ra­tions and tran­si­tions, be it ed­u­ca­tion, vo­ca­tion or ca­reers.

“There are al­ready 110 people who ‘Like’ the page and are en­gaged.

“Those people can ask q u e s t i o n s , vo i c e c o n c e r n s or dis­cuss any as­pect of t he pro­gram, and it al­lows me to re­spond di­rectly to them,” said Ms Al­dous.

She i s keen t o hear from people who can pro­vide feed­back on their ex­pe­ri­ences, as well as prospec­tive and cur­rent ter­tiary stu­dents to as­sist.

Ms Al­dous can be con­tacted by phone on 57602677 or 0419 594558, by email­[email protected]­ and en­cour­ages any­one in­ter­ested to go to their Face­book page “Wot­s4Me’.

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