Charles Sturt University (CSU) students are using their work with local schools to encourage school students to dream big and broaden their educational goals.
Third year physiotherapy student Mr Dean Yamak is working with school careers advisors, oral health students from CSU and teachers in Gundagai, NSW, to inspire school students to engage in further education as part of the collaborative Specialist Integrated Community Engagement (SpICE) program.
Mr Yamak has worked with teachers to write a lesson plan highlighting the benefits of higher education which will be embedded in the NSW syllabus.
"It is about presenting children with a choice to dream big, and giving them support as they grow into that choice," he said.
"At CSU we get taught to believe in and teach holistic person-centred, collaborative and locally-relevant care, and SpICE gives us a chance to experience and practice what we are taught. Helping with SpICE projects wherever I can is a way of putting my beliefs into practice."
SpICE Project Officer with the NSW Department of Education and Communities Ms Helen Berndt said having current students work with students helped bring home the message to 'dream big'.
"It makes it very real for school students, and this type of mentoring benefits school students well beyond these discussions," she said.
"And all children need to hear it as they need a goal to strive for, regardless of circumstances. After leaving school this will benefit the child and society well into the future."
Ms Kate Sanderson, Ms Kirsty McKay, and Ms Meg Garty held a series of 'Higher Education Talks' in which they explained their courses to career advisors in local schools.
SpICE co-ordinator at CSU, Dr Ruth Beecham, said, "SpICE helps communities build specialist knowledge and skills assisted by university and other tertiary level students around key issues identified by that community".
"Lifting the career ambitions and goals of school children is a big issue for many rural communities."