By Cam Lucadou-Wells
The barriers to university will be cleared for Hallam Senior College students, as part of a revolutionary pilot program.
Federation University Australia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the college on 25 October to give Year 10, 11 and 12 students access to mentoring, study support and facilities at the uni’s Berwick campus.
It is hoped to boost the 16 per cent of Year 12 students at the college who go onto university study.
About 50 per cent don’t land a job or continue with study at TAFE or uni the following year.
“The beauty of this program is breaking down the barriers,” Hallam Senior College partnerships manager Keith Pimblett said.
“It’s something we have never had in this region.
“It’s changing the dynamics for students going from high school to potentially high-paying jobs.”
From 2020, the college’s senior students will be given more support such as allowing Year 12s to study a first-year university subject as part of their VCE.
Hallam Senior College teachers will be provided professional development training and innovative educational research.
Federation University vice-chancellor and president Professor Helen Bartlett said the university was “incredibly proud” of having the highest proportion of students in Australia who are the first in their family to go to uni.
“There is a well-known saying that you can’t be what you can’t see and many of these secondary school students will have never thought university was an option for them.”
“By exposing secondary students to the university environment and helping them learn study skills to succeed in VCE and at university, we can change that mindset and help open up more opportunities in their lives through further study.”
Hallam Senior College executive principal Greg McMahon said a possible pathway may be forged with the “high-end” sports science course at Federation Univeristy’s Ballarat campus.
Other courses included allied health, nursing, IT, creative arts and commerce.
The college was also partnering with employers for pathways into building and construction, project management, plumbing and other trades, Mr McMahon said.
“Every student should leave this college with their next step absolutely in mind, not ‘What am I going to do next?’
“That’s why the pathway program is important.”