Beacon Highlights Youth Unemployment-Profile
Tuesday, 2nd September 2003 at 1:09 pm
When the No Dole Program began at Launceston’s Brooks High School in 1995, the impact was almost instantaneous, halving the number of students heading for the dole queue in the first year and becoming almost zero in the second. Back then no one would have predicted that eight years after its creation by the Beacon Foundation, it would become a national model replicated by schools across Australia.
The program attracted so much publicity back in 1998 that it brought the Prime Minister to the school. Last year’s editorial comment in ‘The Australian’ extolled the virtues of the program and suggested that “policy makers and governments should sit up and take notice.
CEO of the Beacon Foundation, Scott Harris says he is impressed with the national roll-out of the No Dole Program. Over the past few weeks there has been successful launches of the No Dole with Premier Bracks in Victoria, Balga High School in WA and Oak Flats High School in Shellharbour, New South Wales.
Harris says the exciting Beacon message is now reaching many areas of Australia that new ways can be found to allow unemployed youth the same experience of pride in achievement, self worth, enterprise and common values as others in our community.
Beacon is currently engaged in developing an evolving program aimed at harnessing the skills, expertise, resources and enthusiasm of organisations throughout Australia to overcome the many problems of youth unemployment.
Harris says Beacon is getting results as a generator of partnerships at a local level between businesses, schools and the community and also through its strong impact on the mindsets of large numbers of influential people both in the private and public sectors throughout the nation.
The Beacon Foundation has a single focus – to change public perceptions of youth unemployment in Australia and has resolved that it must become a national organisation with a national focus to keep spreading its message.
The make up of the new National Board is Chairman Bill Lawson, prominent Australians, Peter Kirby former CEO of CSR, Tim Shanahan, CEO of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA, Dr Peter Gunn, Principal of Lincoln College in South Australia, Ted Scott, former CEO Stanwell Corporation, Bill Healey, CEO of the Enterprise Career Education Foundation and Simon Barnsely, Deputy Secretary Department of Education Tasmania, serving Board member, Hannah Lawson and SKM’s Brian Turnbull.
This new structure will also include a Regional Management Committee involving representatives from all States and Territories in which Beacon is active.
Scott Harris says it’s Beacon’s repeated experience that both individual Australians and Australian Corporates really do want to contribute to beating youth unemployment on a sustainable basis. However, they are unsure of what to do in clear and achievable terms.
He says Beacon’s work provides both a framework of proven, effective programs, harnessing this energy in a focused manner that facilitates engagement at both individual and corporate levels.
Back at Brooks High School the school continues to be a source of many inquiries and visits from educationalists, business people and others from local government who wish to focus on improving the prospects of their youngsters.
The Beacon Foundation says that bearing in mind that this school caters for one of the most disadvantaged areas in the nation, with third generation unemployed being a defining characteristic of the northern suburbs of Launceston, the school’s success rate in suitably placing students has been phenomenal.
This year’s percentage of 97% was preceded by last year’s 98% and several years of 100% before that.
A significant reason for this continued success is that the program has not remained where it was in 1995 but has been progressively refined and added to, with more and more strategies being introduced to ensure that the students’ needs are met in the best way possible.
For more information check out the website at www.beaconfoundation.net