Careers through Reading
A key focus for the Equity and Diversity Unit is on the equity of access to Higher Education, specifically for students from low SES backgrounds.
The AIM High Team in the Equity and Diversity unit works with schools, students and families from low SES backgrounds to increase the awareness of higher education, build aspiration and expectation to participate in higher education and improve educational attainment and achievement to facilitate participation. The Team provides a series of activities and experiences ranging from early infants to senior high school.
“Careers Through Reading” is an example of the type of programs delivered in schools by the AIM High Team. Careers Through Reading is a multi-visit program that involves Year 2 students being introduced to a variety of career and study options through university students reading them children’s books related to their study/career.
Students in Years 5 and 6 play a leadership role for the younger participants while spending time in class working on a creative project in response to the question ‘What is University’. Students from the local high school and community members are special guests throughout the program to help explore the pathways to further study and careers. At the end of the program each Year 2 student receives a book of their own as recognition of their ‘graduation’ from the program.
The Careers Through Reading began as a partnership with Cessnock Public School and has since been conducted at Wirreanda Public School, Kurri Kurri Public School and Bulahdelah Central school.
Evaluations conducted with schools have highlighted that the success of the program has been a result of it being ‘people-rich’, sustained over multiple weeks and aimed at building literacy while developing a deep understanding of a specific area of socially constructed knowledge.