The University of Newcastle, Hunter TAFE and NSW DET will this week enact a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and launch a program that inspires young students to think about their futures.
The Making Educational Goals Sustainable (MEGS) initiative aims to promote education amongst students from targeted equity groups.
The MEGS Program was developed in the Hunter and has been running for the past two years. The MoU will formalise the partnership and will significantly expand the program with over 650 Year 6 students and their parents visiting the University of Newcastle this year. For many, this will be the first time that they have been in contact with a university.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Global Relations), Professor Kevin McConkey, said the objective was to offer a taste of university life to young students who might not usually consider higher education an option.
"The students targeted by the MEGS program are typically from lower socio-economic or disadvantaged backgrounds who we know probably do not currently aspire to a university education," Professor McConkey said.
The program is distinctive in that it targets students in Years 6 — 9 and incorporates activities to increase students' and their parents' understanding of the links between classroom learning and career aspirations.
Hunter TAFE Relieving Director, Christine Warrington, said the MEGS program is a great way to support the future workforce and industry needs of the region.
"Through MEGS school students and their parents are introduced to the range of education and training opportunities that DET, the University of Newcastle and TAFE can provide," Ms Warrington said.
"We help them to see that careers aren't just for someone else, that education and training really is for everyone and that TAFE provides pathways to help realise their dreams and ambitions.
The NSW Department of Education and Training's Hunter — Central Coast Regional Director, Robyn McKerihan, says the program is direct and practical.
"Students and parents go on orientation tours and to subject workshops at the University and TAFE, where university lecturers and teachers discuss with them the specific connections between those subjects and career options," Ms McKerihan said.
"It is really important that parents join their children because family perspective is critical to a young person's view of their place in the world after school."
Photo opportunity: The MEGS program will be launched on Wednesday 10 February 2010 at 9.30am in the Purdue Room, Great Hall, the University of Newcastle.