Major conference to discuss the future of education and the role of the community

Some of the State’s leading education experts will gather in Hobart this week to talk about the future of education in Tasmania.

The conference will be hosted by the Beacon Foundation and will focus on the role the community plays in supporting young people both at school and once they finish.

Beacon CEO, Scott Harris, said the conference will discuss how the education system has evolved in recent years and the opportunities to improve the way we support young Tasmanians.

“The theme of the conference is ‘Beyond the school gate’, and will focus on how we can harness the support of the whole community to help young people through the education system and into the real world,” Mr Harris said.

“With the help of the Tasmanian Government and the Paul Ramsay Foundation, we have worked closely with six communities around the State for the past five years trying to bring schools and their local communities closer together.

“What we’ve found is that when the schools and their communities work together and support each other, the big winners are our kids.  We’ve found that by bringing schools and their communities closer many students do better at school and importantly, once they’ve finished school they are more likely to find a job that really interests them, which means they are more likely to give back to their community.

“We call this project ‘Collective ed.’ and it will be one of the main areas of discussion at the conference.

“There has been a lot of discussion recently about student retention and extending high schools to year 12.  As part of these discussions the focus is always on kids themselves, their needs and how well we are equipping them for the future, which is all part of the Collective ed. project.

“We’re thrilled that one of our guest speakers will be Jan Owen AM.  Jan has developed new approaches in social policy, innovation, education and entrepreneurship that are now world-renowned and has pioneered collaborative approaches to improving communities.”


Be@Connected to Host World Swimming Champion

Beacon Foundation has today launched the full speaker schedule for their online learning series, Be@Connected.  With speakers such as Australian Swimming World Champion Ariarne Titmus, it is no wonder that the series is proving to be a huge success with students across Australia.

Beacon Foundation CEO Scott Harris said, “The calibre of speakers that we have wanting to support Australian students through this period is exceptional.”

Mr Harris added, “Ariarne Titmus is a World Champion who is generously giving her time and insights to assist students across Australia, when she herself is having to regroup following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.  This commitment to young people is outstanding, we are thrilled to have Ariarne on board.”

“There is no doubt that the Great Shutdown will have significant impacts on our young people, and we are starting to see that already.  Beacon Foundation are committed to making sure we continue to be there for young people all over Australia.”

Be@Connected is into its third week of a six week series, with topics already addressed including teamwork, communication, creativity, personal brand and attitude.

Ariarne’s session is scheduled for June 3, the final week of the series.  During the session Ariarne will address looking after yourself and the importance of wellbeing.

Ariarne commented, “Be@Connected is an exciting and relevant initiative to be involved with.  We are all having to adapt and adjust to new ways of doing things during this period and I am looking forward to sharing my experiences and tips to students around Australia.”

She added, “It is more important than ever that we pay close attention to our young people at this time as they journey through the uncertainty that we all face.”

“I hope my story and experiences can help inspire students to stay motivated during this time.”

Be@Connected continues to gain momentum, with two new episodes being posted to the Beacon Foundation’s You Tube channel weekly.

Be@Connected will run alongside Beacon’s preexisting suite of online programs Industry Live and My Road. Find the full term two schedule here.

106 Mentors to Open Doors to Opportunities for Young People on the Central Coast

Ulverstone’s Collective ed. team is working together with the community to enable young people to thrive, increase year 12 attainment and identify ways more young people can transition into meaningful pathways after school. This week, the Central Coast community held an event to celebrate the Central Coast 100 Day Challenge and to launch Doors to Mentors.

Hon Jeremy Rockliff, Deputy Premier, Minister for Education and Training attended the event at the Ulverstone Wharf Precinct together with Councillor Cheryl Fuller who launched Doors to Mentors on behalf of Mayor Jan Bonde. Trudy Pearce, Deputy Secretary Learning, Glen Lutwyche and Shane Cleaver, Principal and Assistant Principal at Ulverstone Secondary College and Beacon Foundation’s Collective ed. team led by Shaun Conkie were also present to celebrate.

Doors to Mentors is a community-driven mentoring program. As part of the Central Coast 100 Day Challenge held in 2019, 106 mentors were identified in 100 days to support this initiative. Doors to Mentors will match people aged 15-24 in the Central Coast with mentors to identify and support young people to achieve their aspirations.

Bailey Livesley, one of the  year 11 students from Ulverstone Secondary College and part of the Central Coast 100 Day Challenge Working Group, says it’s been a rewarding experience to see Doors to Mentors come to life;

“As a young person, you don’t often feel like your voice is heard. Collective ed. has enabled a space for conversation and discussion to take place, to contribute to our community.”

“It was a special feeling to share my ideas [as part of the Central Coast 100 Day Challenge] and see them actually come to life through the launch of Doors to Mentors”.

Collective ed. Ulverstone is one of six sites and part of the first Collective Impact initiative hosted by Beacon Foundation. Through Collective ed., Beacon is supporting six communities. The aim is to ensure more young people complete year 12 or equivalent and enable them to transition into meaningful pathways after school. Beacon Foundation CEO Scott Harris says it’s taking a holistic approach to community wellbeing;

“Beacon Foundation is proud to host Collective ed. It is outstanding to see the Central Coast community come together to determine initiatives that they believe will lead to a better future for their young people.

Beacon Foundation congratulates the Central Coast community on their commitment to collectively making a difference.

The Advocate covered the story in the article: “Beacon Foundation’s mentorship program Doors to Mentors launches on Central Coast

About Collective ed. Ulverstone
Collective ed. Ulverstone is one of six sites and part of the first Collective Impact initiative that Beacon Foundation has hosted. Collective ed. has set out to ensure more young people complete year 12 or equivalent and enable them to transition into meaningful pathways after school. Collective ed. is built on the power of the community and place the community it at the centre to drive large scale social change. Hosted by Beacon Foundation, Collective ed. is a $15 million, five-year project, funded by the Paul Ramsay Foundation, Australia’s biggest philanthropic organisation, and the Tasmanian State Government.




Beacon brings wind farm experience for Tassie’s West Coast Students

Sixteen Year 9 and 10 students from the Mountain Heights School in Queenstown have been given a rare insight into the construction of the Granville Harbour Wind Farm this week, as part of a two-day intensive program aimed at exploring ‘future work’ opportunities in the renewable energy industry.

Granville Harbour Wind Farm Project Manager Peter Young said it was fantastic to welcome local students to the wind farm site and to provide some insights into what it’s like to work on a significant ‘clean infrastructure’ project.

“We’re extremely proud to partner with the Cradle Coast Authority and Beacon Foundation to provide a ‘real-life’ learning experience that we hope will inspire the next generation of West Coast students to consider a career in the renewable energy industry.”

“Tasmania has enviable natural resources and huge renewable energy potential – we are keen to help build capacity locally and encourage more young Tasmanians to develop the necessary skills to work in the industry that will help Tasmania to reach 100 per cent renewable energy by 2022.”

The program included a tour of the Granville Harbour Wind Farm site as well as opportunities to engage with wind farm employees to learn first-hand about the industry and the diverse range of career options available.

“Our workers really enjoyed the opportunity to engage with students and share their own personal experiences, as well as their passion for the industry,” said Mr Young.

“Ensuring that our region derives as much benefit as possible from renewable energy development is a high priority for us and our Member Councils. Helping students, parents and teachers understand what future energy careers look like, is an important and rewarding part of that” said Cradle Coast Authority CEO, Daryl Connelly.

Beacon Foundation State Manager Nick Probert said the innovative Growth Industry Programs (GrIPP) created and delivered by Beacon provided a unique opportunity for both students and their parents to learn first-hand about career pathways in Tasmania’s key and growing industries.

“Growth Industry Preparation Programs provide an important opportunity for young people to be exposed to the possibilities of a career in a particular industry. This is the first program we’ve conducted in the renewable energy industry and it represents a really exciting career option for students on the West Coast.”

The partnership was made possible through a successful funding application from the Cradle Coast Authority as part of the Granville Harbour Wind Farm Community Grants Program.

The program was a success among the students as well. Here is some of the great feedback we received after the day from the students:

  • Was good not to just sit there but they went and showed you the site
  • Discovered there were more jobs on site and that everyone played a part
  • Would like to go up in a turbine!
  • Got the most out of the mentor session and from Royce saying he needs employees who ‘have a go’.

The Advocate covered the story in the article “New program to generate interest in renewable energy careers“.



Disappointed in changes at Mitchell Institute, Victoria University

Beacon Foundation is saddened to learn of the changes at Mitchell Institute in Victoria University, which will see it cease to exist in its current form next year.  For the past five years, the Mitchell Institute has been at the forefront of educational research in Australia. They have led inquiries and campaigns around:

  • Value of early childhood education
  • Opportunity cost of educational attainment
  • Transitions into education and vocational training
  • Teaching capabilities – like 21st century learning and enterprise skills
  • Preparing young people for the future of work
  • Collaboration between the worlds of work and learning

Chief Executive, Scott Harris said the changes would be a great loss to Beacon Foundation and many other organisations that work with young people, business and industry.

“For the past 30 years, Beacon Foundation has been an advocate for building better links between school and industry. However, we are often advocating on these issues based on our own firsthand experience working in school and community.  Our organisation has benefited greatly from Mitchell Institute’s research, and have been able to draw on findings into sector wide trends and international developments in education.

It’s disappointing that the Institute as it stands is not continuing, particularly given the enormous interest and pressure on the education sector to build the skills and capabilities that young people need in a changing workforce.

We have had significant inquiries into education from David Gonski and Professor John Halsey, who have both stressed the value of school and industry collaboration to our education system.  And government is slowly beginning to respond to these challenges and looking at how our curriculum to meet these needs.

Research bodies like Mitchell Institute have been valuable for us and our stakeholders, because they have given us credible, evidence based recommendations for how we can start to build opportunities for young people. This has been done in a way that consults with organisations like Beacon Foundation, but also with educators, specialists and business and industry.  We have found that they have been able to be a real broker in bringing government, policy makers, educators and young people together to suggest change and to showcase real life examples of good practice”

Staff at Beacon Foundation wish exiting staff from the Mitchell Institute the best of success in their future endeavours.