The University of Newcastle, Australia


Thursday, 16 July 2015

In May, our University team, with Mission Australia, held a community service provider consultation at the Ethnic Communities Council in Waratah to uncover existing strengths and assets within the community  that promote and support aspiration toward education and lifelong learning.

The Community Connect consultation sought to identify projects (existing and new) that can support and value add to the community via student placements.

The Community Connect team demonstrated how easily students can value-add to a project by incorporating 4 students; Kaia Ireson (Master of Family Studies), Jordan Crozier (BA Social Work), Codey McHatton (BA fine Art/ Education), and Melissa Bull (BA Fine Art) in the consultation process.

This also generated student awareness of the potential work opportunities available in the community sector with student Melissa Bull noting "I developed some sense of my ability of assisting and working within community based organisations"

The consultation attracted 32 active and involved participants from a variety of sectors – i.e educational and training providers, council staff, and community services and engagement providers as well as students. 

The consultation was held in a World Café style with some of the existing strengths in the community being identified as;

  • Hunter Women's Centre Job Club for Women
  • TAFE infrastructure
  • Transport
  • Localised programs supporting pathways to education
  • Proximity to education providers from early childhood to tertiary, family and community services
  • Public facilities including the library and neighbourhood centres.

A total of nine project ideas were generated that day, including a student mentoring project that will begin on the 21st of July at the Hunter Women's Centre where 13 iLEAD volunteers and 1 Social Science (WIL) placement will be assisting women (post trauma) to connect with education, employment or training.

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