Right now, across the country, thousands of students are waiting for the last piece of their school puzzle: final year results.

Among them is a young woman from Ashcroft High School. We’ll call her Anna. Waiting on your HSC results is a difficult enough time for anyone; but for Anna, it’s a little different.

Not one member of her family’s ever finished school - or held down a job. A foster child, she’s been in situations no child should be in. When she started our program, she was painfully shy - with little hope for her future apart from getting on the dole. 

So What Changed?

In regional Tasmania, 26 years ago, one particular school in a poor area was really struggling. A very high percentage of students were leaving school without their HSC. Often, these students came from families where their parents and grandparents were welfare dependant.

The Beacon Foundation was formed to give those teens an opportunity to see what their career options could be. If it sounds simple, it is. But most people take it for granted: if someone in your family has a job, you’ve probably visited their office, seen the environment, and had some work experience. If you have no-one in your family who’s working, how do you know what work looks like, or how to get it?

Almost three decades later, the mission of the Beacon Foundation is the same. We work with local business units so that when jobs come up, students are given the opportunity to go to interviews.

We help prep them for the interview: they know what to say; they know how to sell their own ‘personal brand,’ they know how to put their CV together, and they know what’s expected of them in a work environment.

The point is that the Beacon program isn’t about forcing people into doing something, nor is it about charity. It’s about providing examples of positive career paths - and letting students find their motivations themselves.

We’ve given them a vision; they give themselves a goal. And when a child does that, their chances of success are so much greater. 

Getting Great Results

Which brings me back to Anna from Ashcroft High. She knew, and the school knew, that with determination, she was capable of being the first in her family to get a Higher School Certificate.

Her teachers were working hard with her, taking extra time outside of school hours to get her across the line. So, to give her a bit of extra incentive, Beacon stepped to give her an opportunity with an aged-care company – if she can get her HSC. She’s gone through the interview, and is in the process of getting her first job.

All she’s waiting on is that piece of paper. And we know she can get it.