7 April 2023

New outreach program to help young people in regional and remote areas attend university

| Gail Eastaway
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Cooma University Centre.

The Cooma University Centre has welcomed the new program and already offers similar initiatives for underrepresented students. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

New targeted outreach initiatives will be rolled out in regional and remote communities across Queensland, NSW and Victoria as part of a broader program to inspire young people from underrepresented backgrounds to consider a university pathway.

The initiative, which is being led by University of Technology Sydney, has been welcomed by the Cooma University Centre. CUC already offers similar services for underrepresented students.

CUC Snowy Monaro centre manager Nadine Holland said: “The Cooma-based project aims to change the narrative of regional student access, participation and success in higher education at a local level through a collaborative effort from the University of Canberra and CUC Snowy Monaro.

“Working alongside community, school staff, parents/carers, mature aged people, key influencers of young people, local industry and employers, we will equip and empower the Cooma community to bring about sustainable and long-term change,” she added.

“This project promotes and enables in-depth engagement within Cooma, where we will tackle home-grown challenges, raise awareness, and ultimately help increase the community’s understanding of how higher education could contribute to future-proofing Cooma.”

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Making the announcement this week, Assistant Minister for Education and Regional Development Anthony Chisholm said the project was one of two higher education outreach programs targeting regional and remote communities selected to share $6.5 million in government funding.

“The Albanese Government wants to ensure all Australians have access to high-quality education, regardless of where they might live,” Senator Chisholm said.

“This government knows how important outreach and community engagement is for students who might not normally choose university as a pathway, allowing them to see the opportunities available to them.

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“The project will see more than 30 universities and Regional University Centres work together with communities to deliver a range of locally tailored initiatives across 2023 and 2024, aimed at inspiring young people from regional and remote areas to pursue a higher education,” Mr Chisholm added.

“The broad-reaching project will deliver a range of activities, including building academic and life skills, career exploration and mentorship programs to support students to consider the higher education opportunities available to them.

“This includes supporting students to explore a wide variety of higher education pathways tailored to the needs and interests of partner communities and the students themselves.”

Senator Chisholm said the project would also focus on building local capacity to ensure participating communities have the resources they need to keep supporting local students to consider a university pathway going forward.

“This project presents a unique opportunity to make a lasting impression on regional and remote students and ensure that where you live is not a barrier to pursuing a university education,” he said.

The Eastern Australia Regional University Centre Partnership project is being funded under Phase 2 of the government’s Regional Partnerships Project Pool Program, which aims to empower regional and remote students to aspire to higher education and support universities and Regional University Centres to build sustainable partnerships with local communities.

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