A Mentoring Story

The LEAP Macquarie Mentoring (Refugee Mentoring) program is a unique mentoring program for high school students from refugee backgrounds. The program provides a relaxed and friendly atmosphere for students from refugee backgrounds (mentees) to explore and navigate future education and career pathways with the support of Macquarie University student volunteers (mentors).

Mentors work with mentees to build their confidence, skills and knowledge base about higher education, allowing mentees to make more informed and empowered decisions about their future education. Each mentor works with 2 students on a weekly basis for the duration of a Semester. Mentors are provided with a flexible structure enabling them to address the needs of their particular mentees whilst adhering to broader program goals.

This program is funded by the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program(HEPPP) and the NSW Department of Education and Communities (NSW DEC). It is subject to regular internal and external evaluation which helps demonstrate the success of the program and inform program development.

Which schools are involved?

This program regularly works in partnership with schools in West and South West Sydney. 7 schools have participated in the program to date. These are Miller Technology High School, Evans High School, Blacktown Boys High School, Blacktown Girls High School, Bankstown Senior College, Arthur Phillip High School and Condell Park High School. This year we are excited to welcome Auburn Girls High School and Granville Boys High School.

What impact has the program had thus far?

The program has shown to be incredibly beneficial for mentees in many areas, below are some examples (current as of Semester 2, 2013):

  • 90% of participants surveyed said that participating in the program and visiting Macquarie University had increased their desire to attend a university.
  • 50% of participants surveyed reported that because of the program they now had a regular study routine, studied more regularly or did their homework more regularly. An additional 10% of students planned to develop a better study routine.
  • Over 50% of participants reported being more confident in themselves upon completion of the program.
  • To date several participants have applied for and have been accepted into a variety of University and TAFE courses.

Below are some direct quotes from mentees about their experience with the program:

“I heard good information and I feel confident to go to uni :)”

Its change[d] the way I was thinking and make me more confident to choose what I want.”

“I have started to study more and my time management has been better before exams.”

“I’m thinking more about going to uni to finish my education, I’ve learnt that there are a lot of options to follow your dreams.”