Partnership to support students

Students facing difficult circumstances are set to benefit from a partnership between the University of Newcastle and The Smith Family that aims to improve access and participation in tertiary studies.

Up to 41 recipients of The Smith Family’s Learning for Life tertiary scholarship, who study at the University of Newcastle, will receive additional, annual financial support and mentoring from the University.

The Smith Family’s NSW General Manager, Steve Macready, joined Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Andrew Parfitt, to formally recognise the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) launched on 14 August.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity of a tertiary education and through partnerships like this; the University of Newcastle is able to increase access for students regardless of their background. This partnership will provide ongoing support for students who need additional assistance in reaching their education goals,” Professor Parfitt said.

The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program recognises that disadvantaged children need extra support to stay at school and go on to further studies or a job. It provides financial assistance and pairs tertiary students with mentors working within the students’ fields of interest, who provide support, advice and networking opportunities.

“We are thrilled to partner with the University of Newcastle, which shares our vision of creating a pathway for all young Australians regardless of their background, to succeed in their education,” Mr Macready said.

“Four out of 10 young Australians from financially challenged backgrounds are not engaged in work or study once they leave school – a problem we hope to address through this partnership and in conjunction with our Learning for Life tertiary scholarship,” he said.

The Memorandum adds to the strong record of the University’s commitment to equity and excellence along with support for The Smith Family. It follows the successful Uni4You program, launched in 2013 with the Australian Government Department of Social Services, Communities for Children funding that The Smith Family facilitates in the Raymond Terrace area.

The University and The Smith Family will continue to work together to implement other community-based programs into the future.

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