Free suite of online resources coming in Term 2

The team at Beacon are working on an exciting collaboration to create a suite of online resources, including some of our traditional online programs and some new content. As more and more schools across Australia is moving into an online learning environment, Beacon Foundation is here to support you.

In time for Term 2, Beacon Foundation will release a set of FREE online programs, specially created to engage students online.

The online sessions will be a panel discussion with industry experts covering topics in life skills, mental health and future jobs.

Register your interest now.

Register now button

Register your interest now.

Beacon Foundation COVID-19 Update

Like so many other organisations, Beacon are making decisions made with the health and wellbeing of our staff, schools, young people, partners and families at the centre of our thinking.

With recent changes to Department and school policy and with the health and wellbeing of all in mind, Beacon’s face-to-face Program and Services activities, including High Impact Work Readiness Programs and site tours will be suspended until end of April. We are also moving all our Collective ed. community activities online and the upcoming #Chain4Change in Deloraine has been postponed.

The good news is that we will continue to run our Online Programs (My Road and Industry Live) as usual and the scheduled sessions will proceed as planned at this stage.

Beacon prides itself on being a connector, what we do is bring people, organisations and communities together to create meaningful outcomes for young people that need it most. This will not and should not stop, in fact it is more important than ever.

Please feel free to reach out to any of our team, it is important that we continue to work together through this time.

We sincerely appreciate your support and commitment to Beacon and the young people that we so passionately work for, we look forward to getting back into schools and communities when we can and continuing to create great impact through our work.

Stay strong and please take care of each other.

Australian Tourism Winners Starring in Industry Live

Interested in hotels, hospitality and holidays?  Let’s be honest, who isn’t?

We have been able to secure two of Australia’s leading minds in this area and are delighted to be able to share them with you through Industry Live on 18 March, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM AEDT.

Jake Smith, General Manager MACq 01

 Last Friday night in Canberra Macq01 Hotel were awarded Australian Tourism Awards, recognised as the ‘best of the best’ in the country.

Pennicott Wilderness Journeys is no stranger to national and international recognition, having collected many significant awards throughout their years of operation.  Rob Pennicott is the Founder and Owner of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys and Jake Smith is the General Manager of MACq 01, Tasmania’s famous storytelling hotel. 

Rob Pennicott is one of Australia’s leading operators in nature-based tourism, evidenced by his incredible gathering of national and international awards.  The dynamo that is Rob runs an incredible fleet of yellow boats in both Tasmania and Victoria showcasing some of Australia’s most beautiful wilderness in an action-packed and quality experience.  Rob has been on a journey to get to where he is today and his personal story is one of incredible persistence, resilience, courage and innovation. 

Jake Smith is the General Manager of the multi-award winning MACq 01 Hotel on the Hobart waterfront.  This incredible property made front-page news when it was launched as Australia’s first storytelling hotel where all its rooms recognise an iconic Tasmanian.  Jake has been at the helm of this hotel since opening and has been able to lead the team to deliver exceptional holiday experiences, Jake’s personal story is one of great learning, progression, commitment and humility.

 Join Rob and Jake as they share their stories, learnings and lessons to get to the top of their game in the hotel, hospitality and holiday fields, it is a line up not to miss.

Rob Pennicott, Founder and Owner of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

About Industry Live: 
Join Beacon Foundation online for Industry Live, a series of live career awareness and exploration events via video conference. We invite expert industry panellists to share their stories, top tips for success, and answer questions from school students across Australia in a discussion led by a facilitator. Industry Live is open to all students across Australia in Years 6-12.  Our next one is at 1:00 PM – 2:00PM AEDT – Mar 18th: Hotels, Hospitality & Holidays – Accommodation, food services and tourism are major growth areas with many different roles available. Simply register and we’ll be in touch to talk you through log-ins and logistics, more information about Industry Live and how to register can be found via this link.

106 Mentors to Open Doors to Opportunities for Young People on the Central Coast

Ulverstone’s Collective ed. team is working together with the community to enable young people to thrive, increase year 12 attainment and identify ways more young people can transition into meaningful pathways after school. This week, the Central Coast community held an event to celebrate the Central Coast 100 Day Challenge and to launch Doors to Mentors.

Hon Jeremy Rockliff, Deputy Premier, Minister for Education and Training attended the event at the Ulverstone Wharf Precinct together with Councillor Cheryl Fuller who launched Doors to Mentors on behalf of Mayor Jan Bonde. Trudy Pearce, Deputy Secretary Learning, Glen Lutwyche and Shane Cleaver, Principal and Assistant Principal at Ulverstone Secondary College and Beacon Foundation’s Collective ed. team led by Shaun Conkie were also present to celebrate.

Doors to Mentors is a community-driven mentoring program. As part of the Central Coast 100 Day Challenge held in 2019, 106 mentors were identified in 100 days to support this initiative. Doors to Mentors will match people aged 15-24 in the Central Coast with mentors to identify and support young people to achieve their aspirations.

Bailey Livesley, one of the  year 11 students from Ulverstone Secondary College and part of the Central Coast 100 Day Challenge Working Group, says it’s been a rewarding experience to see Doors to Mentors come to life;

“As a young person, you don’t often feel like your voice is heard. Collective ed. has enabled a space for conversation and discussion to take place, to contribute to our community.”

“It was a special feeling to share my ideas [as part of the Central Coast 100 Day Challenge] and see them actually come to life through the launch of Doors to Mentors”.

Collective ed. Ulverstone is one of six sites Collective ed. Ulverstone is one of six sites and part of the first Collective Impact initiative hosted by Beacon Foundation. Through Collective ed., Beacon is supporting six communities. The aim is to ensure more young people complete year 12 or equivalent and enable them to transition into meaningful pathways after school. Beacon Foundation CEO Scott Harris says it’s taking a holistic approach to community wellbeing;

“Beacon Foundation is proud to host Collective ed. It is outstanding to see the Central Coast community come together to determine initiatives that they believe will lead to a better future for their young people.

Beacon Foundation congratulates the Central Coast community on their commitment to collectively making a difference.

The Advocate covered the story in the article: “Beacon Foundation’s mentorship program Doors to Mentors launches on Central Coast

About Collective ed. Ulverstone
Collective ed. Ulverstone is one of six sites and part of the first Collective Impact initiative that Beacon Foundation has hosted. Collective ed. has set out to ensure more young people complete year 12 or equivalent and enable them to transition into meaningful pathways after school. Collective ed. is built on the power of the community and place the community it at the centre to drive large scale social change. Hosted by Beacon Foundation, Collective ed. is a $15 million, five-year project, funded by the Paul Ramsay Foundation, Australia’s biggest philanthropic organisation, and the Tasmanian State Government.




Beacon brings wind farm experience for Tassie’s West Coast Students

Sixteen Year 9 and 10 students from the Mountain Heights School in Queenstown have been given a rare insight into the construction of the Granville Harbour Wind Farm this week, as part of a two-day intensive program aimed at exploring ‘future work’ opportunities in the renewable energy industry.

Granville Harbour Wind Farm Project Manager Peter Young said it was fantastic to welcome local students to the wind farm site and to provide some insights into what it’s like to work on a significant ‘clean infrastructure’ project.

“We’re extremely proud to partner with the Cradle Coast Authority and Beacon Foundation to provide a ‘real-life’ learning experience that we hope will inspire the next generation of West Coast students to consider a career in the renewable energy industry.”

“Tasmania has enviable natural resources and huge renewable energy potential – we are keen to help build capacity locally and encourage more young Tasmanians to develop the necessary skills to work in the industry that will help Tasmania to reach 100 per cent renewable energy by 2022.”

The program included a tour of the Granville Harbour Wind Farm site as well as opportunities to engage with wind farm employees to learn first-hand about the industry and the diverse range of career options available.

“Our workers really enjoyed the opportunity to engage with students and share their own personal experiences, as well as their passion for the industry,” said Mr Young.

“Ensuring that our region derives as much benefit as possible from renewable energy development is a high priority for us and our Member Councils. Helping students, parents and teachers understand what future energy careers look like, is an important and rewarding part of that” said Cradle Coast Authority CEO, Daryl Connelly.

Beacon Foundation State Manager Nick Probert said the innovative Growth Industry Programs (GrIPP) created and delivered by Beacon provided a unique opportunity for both students and their parents to learn first-hand about career pathways in Tasmania’s key and growing industries.

“Growth Industry Preparation Programs provide an important opportunity for young people to be exposed to the possibilities of a career in a particular industry. This is the first program we’ve conducted in the renewable energy industry and it represents a really exciting career option for students on the West Coast.”

The partnership was made possible through a successful funding application from the Cradle Coast Authority as part of the Granville Harbour Wind Farm Community Grants Program.

The program was a success among the students as well. Here is some of the great feedback we received after the day from the students:

  • Was good not to just sit there but they went and showed you the site
  • Discovered there were more jobs on site and that everyone played a part
  • Would like to go up in a turbine!
  • Got the most out of the mentor session and from Royce saying he needs employees who ‘have a go’.

The Advocate covered the story in the article “New program to generate interest in renewable energy careers“.



Story of a mentor: why you might like to join her

Think back to when you were in Year 10. Did anyone give you advice on where your strengths or passions could lead you in the world of work?

When you were in Year 11 or 12, was there someone who encouraged you, told you that you could achieve whatever you set your mind to?

For many people, the answer to these questions is “no” – including Sales Manager Kellie Laguzza. It’s one of the reasons she decided to get involved with Beacon Foundation’s career mentoring program, MyRoad.

“When I was in Year 10 this was definitely not something they did. I had no direction at school, no idea what I wanted to do.”

Kellie spoke to Beacon Foundation just after she finished her first session as a volunteer mentor, in which she was connected with a small group of young women via video conferencing.

“I really loved it. I was really nervous but I was very open with the girls by telling them it was my first session.”

Kellie searched out a volunteering opportunity for herself and her workplace team. She works for Sage Software Australia and is an Ambassador for the Sage Foundation, through which employees are encouraged to take five days a year to help a charity of their choice.

Kellie says she liked the structure of Beacon Foundation’s MyRoad program and the chance to share the story of her career journey. She told the students she applied for hundreds of jobs before getting her first position.

“I think you really have to draw on your experience. The students like hearing about some of the failures you had along the way as well.”

Kellie believes the MyRoad program allows students to think about jobs they might not have thought about before. And, she says, it encourages them to identify transferrable skills they already have which are sought after by employers.

“I left them with a final thought – to think about their passions. When you find something you are passionate about, you will succeed.”

Letting her colleagues at Sage know about the program is the next step for Kellie, and she’s already booked into her second session as a mentor.

“I’ve had a lot of hurdles to overcome to get to where I am. I’m now considered very successful at what I do – but it wasn’t an easy road. If I’d had someone to support me along the way, I might have gone on a very different path to get here.”

By encouraging others to take up volunteer mentoring, Kellie hopes more young people will be able to answer “yes” to the questions that opened this article – and will go on to say yes to many and varied career opportunities.

MyRoad is a free online mentoring program aimed at engaging young women (aged 16-19) in career conversations about the world of work. Mentoring sessions run for two hours and focus on: thinking about a pathway after school, how digital technology is used in the workplace, challenges they might face in the workforce and how to navigate them, and tips on starting a career.

To get involved as a MyRoad volunteer mentor, head to this link.

“Just don’t give up – just keep going.”

Michael Kelly lives about half an hour outside Kyabram, a town in central Victoria, around two and a half hours drive from Melbourne.

Beacon Foundation’s programs have been a fixture at his school for many years, so along with his entire cohort, when Michael hit Year 10 this year, he took part in a High Impact Program (‘Polish’). These face-to-face programs, delivered with the help of local industry mentors, are designed to prepare and motivate young people for a successful post-secondary school transition.

What came as a nice surprise for Michael, was what happened during that program.

“We had lunch with a few people, one of them was a Journalist. We were talking about how I could write articles and how I could even potentially get on the radio”.

Education Support Officer at the school, Mary Livingston, says that meeting provided Michael with a ‘light bulb moment’ about where a career could take him.

 “For Michael, there’s been so much personal growth and a huge increase in his self-esteem since the Polish program”.

That confidence shone during a week of work experience which followed at The Riverine Herald, a newspaper based in nearby Echuca.

Michael says he met a great group of people; helped report on a number of community events and got to write an article about his time there, which was published in the paper with his own byline!

“It was sensational … I actually thought it was pretty great. I think it’s a very big achievement.”

Mary Livingston loves to see students participate in Beacon Foundation programs.

“They’re fabulous … and when you see results like these, the impact that it has, it’s fantastic.”

When asked what he took away from the High Impact Program, Michael answers,

“Confidence, persistence. Try to put yourself out there – just don’t give up, just keep going.”

Michael plans to keep going with his education, and isn’t limiting himself to one career idea. He’s also interested in film making, veterinary science and software engineering – and there’s travel on his radar too.

Photo credit: The Riverine Herald

Michael’s article in The Riverine Herald can be read here.

For more information about Beacon Foundation’s High Impact Programs – Prepare, Polish and Perform head to this page on our website.

Lighting the way for Australian young people

What do you get when hundreds of dedicated Vicinity Centres’ people create fundraising and awareness activities for Beacon Foundation? – well, it’s called ‘Light the Way’ and it’s just wrapped up around the country.

Vicinity Centres is one of Beacon Foundation’s fantastic partners – with shopping destinations in many communities around Australia where Beacon Foundation also has school connections. As their corporate community partner, we work with Vicinity on a number of initiatives throughout the year, including student-focused career awareness and skill development activities. The entire Vicinity team has embraced the Light the Way campaign with gusto.

Melissa Schulz, Sustainability Manager, Vicinity Centres said,

“Light the Way is an opportunity for us to engage, encourage and motivate young people in our communities and we’re especially proud to have worked alongside Beacon Foundation again this year.”

Young people were directly involved in a number of events that aimed to raise awareness of, and funds for, Beacon Foundation.

In South Australia, a work readiness activity involving Vicinity teams and students from Bowden Brompton Community School led the young people to come up with their own Light the Way fundraising idea. Their plan was to offer customers, via a gold coin donation, to deliver shopping trolleys to their car. The students’ teachers turned the activity into a complete learning exercise, asking the young people to come up with artwork, and make a flyer to promote their plan. And it turned into reality, called ‘Donate 4 Delivery’. The students loved the chance to create and lead their own campaign – taking to Instagram to promote their work.

For Beacon Foundation, seeing more than 40 of Vicinity’s centres taking part in Light the Way has been fantastic.

“The enthusiasm with which Vicinity has approached this campaign is really quite inspiring,” Beacon Foundation Chief Executive Scott Harris said.

“We feel very fortunate to have a partner like Vicinity that helps us highlight the fact that many young Australians need support to transition from education to meaningful employment.”

Light the Way included a range of events from a special movie screening, to a Buskers Battle, kids’ fun zones and face painting, to the ever-popular ‘guess the number of lollies’ in a jar, as well as sausage sizzles and a meat tray raffle. Many of Vicinity’s retailers supported the campaign too by donating products and services to the campaign.

Beacon Foundation thanks everyone involved. Your efforts will allow us to offer our work readiness programs to more young Australians.


Photo: Luke Jamieson, Centre Manager, Vicinity Centres, Tasmania, was first cook at their sausage sizzle

Beacon Foundation at the National Youth Commission

As a national organisation that supports young people in their transition from education to meaningful employment, Beacon Foundation is pleased to have had the opportunity to present its experience to the National Youth Commission, when it visited Hobart on June 4th.

The Commission, into Youth Employment and Transitions, is making its way around Australia over 18 months, hearing from organisations and individuals. It says it “seeks to bring together the expretise, ideas and experience of young people and the whole Australian community, to build a reform agenda for education and the preparation and support of young people for work now and in the future.”

After 30 years in this space, Beacon Foundation knows about the challenges facing many young people as they try to navigate their way from education to employment.

Tasmanian State Manager, Nick Probert, told the Commission that that there is no level playing field in this area.

“Many schools simply don’t have the resources to spend on effective career awareness activities. This means that students don’t get exposure to real life work situations and examples.”

“At Beacon Foundation we know the value of starting career conversations in schools and connecting students to mentors in the worlds of business and industry. We’d like to see more of this happening around the country.”

Mr Probert told Commissioners – Lisa Paul AO PSM, Major David Eldridge AM and Finbar Piper – about Beacon Foundation activities that aim to support young Australians into further education, training or employment. He said that these are taken up by many schools, which see that the activities can be linked to the Curriculum, and provide opportunities which students would otherwise be unable to access.

He also explained Beacon Foundation’s desire to reach more young people, particularly through its online work readiness and mentoring programs, MyRoad and Industry Live.

Beacon Foundation’s collective impact initiative, Collective ed., which is finding and testing ways to increase Year 12 attainment in six Tasmanian schools, was also discussed.

“Beacon Foundation hopes the National Youth Commission’s hearings really shine a spotlight on as issue so important to Australia,” Mr Probert said.

“Young people, no matter where they live, or in what circumstances, deserve the opportunity to have a productive working life, and we should all be supporting them to get there.”

The National Youth Commission will release its findings and recommendations publically.



Supporting the next generation of Australians through online mentoring – why it’s important

This article is from Beacon Foundation Chief Executive Scott Harris. 

One of the things I love about the MyRoad mentoring program is the way many of the students really seem to grow throughout the sessions in confidence and enthusiasm. It’s so great to see.

It’s great because many of the students exposed to the program really need our help.

MyRoad is a free online mentoring program aimed at young women aged 16-19, who are in Years 10-12. Volunteer mentors from different businesses, occupations and backgrounds engage with young women in conversations about the world of work. The initiative is a partnership between Coca-Cola Australia and Beacon Foundation.

We target young women in this program because many think they’re at a disadvantage compared with boys when it comes to job opportunities.  In late 2017, Core Data undertook the MyRoad Careers Survey, involving 1000 girls and women aged 15 and above. Five hundred were still in school and 500 were no longer in school. Nearly one quarter of the students believed boys at their school would have more career opportunities than girls after leaving school. Of the non-students who said they had a mentor or role model, the overwhelming majority believed that those people were important in influencing their career path, or helped them take steps towards their desired career after leaving school. Of the non-students without a mentor or role model, 74% said they wished they had someone they looked up to.

We also know that for many schools, they want to do this work, they recognise the importance of careers education but they don’t always have the mechanism or the resourcing to be able to source their won industry mentors – and so Beacon Foundation is that conduit for many to see industry and schools really thriving together.

The Mitchell Institute’s report, ‘Connecting the worlds of learning and work’ (July 2018) agrees that schools face a number of barriers to engaging with industry partners, including a lack of time.[1]

Beacon Foundation’s online team does all the work to recruit, train and connect volunteer mentors to students. The ease of this volunteering opportunity isn’t lost on our mentors. Carl Harris from Deloitte has taken part in a number of MyRoad sessions, which take a maximum of two hours each, with no ongoing commitment.

“The ease of the program is one of the absolute beauties,” he says. “You do it from your desk, you don’t have to move, it’s online, it couldn’t be any easier – and therefore the impost on your time is so much less because it is just so simple, well structured, well supported.”

Another mentor, and MyRoad Ambassador, is Emma Isaacs, Founder & CEO of Business Chicks.

“It was great to support the girls as they opened up to me about the challenges the feel when thinking about life after school. This really can be an overwhelming time, especially for those students who live in small or regional communities and don’t have access to a lot of career options.”

Emma’s words are backed up by the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education (Discussion Paper, 2017) which stated that for these students, a “… mechanism that can be used to help build aspirations is mentorship programs.”

Another report, this one from the OECD, ‘Working it out: Career guidance and employer engagement’ (July, 2018) states that “an important purpose of career guidance is to provide young people from all backgrounds with relevant information and experiences to raise aspirations … this could help break intergenerational cycles of disadvantage.”

That report also says, “This engagement can be particularly effective in challenging negative assumptions about specific careers: who better than a woman working in engineering or construction to speak to young women about what it is really like to work in a profession where their gender is in a minority?”

And what does all this achieve?

Evidence shows that partnership activities like this “provide rich real world opportunities that spark students’ curiosity and open students to a range of new and emerging professions.”[2]

It’s another example of Beacon’s innovative, proactive nature in trying to deal with what is one of the country’s biggest issues in youth unemployment.

We want more young Australians to experience Beacon Foundation’s work. We’re aiming to have 2000 young women exposed to MyRoad this year. To do this, we need more people like you to become volunteer mentors.

As one said after her session recently, “supporting students to transition to the workplace and be work ready is such a rewarding experience. To inspire the future workforce through collaborative education and improve outcomes for young people across Australia is something we can all contribute to.”

Beacon Foundation is constantly recruiting new volunteer mentors. To start your contribution, head to


[1] Torri, K. (2018). ‘Connecting the worlds of learning and work’, Australia, Mitchell Institute at Victoria University

[2] Torri, K. (2018). ‘Connecting the worlds of learning and work’, Australia, Mitchell Institute at Victoria University