A NEW program designed to inspire regional students has opened up a range of possibilities for Horsham grade five and six pupils.
Horsham Primary School pupils will travel to Sydney in August as part of Anglicare Victoria’s Open Doors Open Minds program.
The program aims to stem youth unemployment in regional Victoria and support disadvantaged and disengaged youth by exposing children to employment possibilities.
Anglicare Victoria community development worker David Law said the initiative encouraged pupils to realise their potential through mentoring and exploring a range of workplaces.
‘‘We want young people in our regions to know opportunities such as tertiary education can be within their reach,’’ Mr Law said.
‘‘Education is chronically undervalued in Australia, particularly in rural Australia. We want kids to understand life can go beyond their perceived limits.’’
Thirty-five pupils will participate in the Sydney trip – a football team of 20 pupils supported by 15 pupils in roles including nutrition, fitness advisors and media.
They will play a match against pupils from another school.
It comes after Horsham pupils visited the Essendon Football Club last month as part of the program.
‘‘I hope they can find their passion and hopefully that’s where they can forge a career.’’Horsham Primary School principal Chris Walter
Mr Law said visiting an elite sporting institution was one way for the children to learn about jobs available in the industry.
‘‘For every player on the field, there are at least four workers in the background, and we want to show the pathways available for these roles so kids can develop further.’’
Mr Law said the program also focused on art, music and environment through similar excursions.
He said the program was due to be rolled out in Ararat, Stawell and additional Horsham schools in the next few months.
Horsham Primary School principal Chris Walter said 13 grade five and six pupils attended the Essendon excursion.
‘‘It was a great opportunity for our kids to experience what is involved in getting a job in an elite field and, in this case, an elite sporting facility,’’ Mr Walter said.
‘‘It’s planting seeds at this age about what possibilities are out there for them.’’
Mr Walter said it was important for the pupils to realise being from a rural setting was not a disadvantage.
‘‘A number of people who work for Essendon or other sporting organisations are not necessarily born in the city - they come from other parts of Australia or other parts of the world,’’ he said.
‘‘It just opens their eyes to what they can achieve.
‘‘I hope they can find their passion and hopefully that’s where they can forge a career.’’