Volunteers the focus for Aspire 2015

La Trobe University has partnered with three of Australia's most respected volunteering organisations to recognise and reward Year 12 students who are balancing their study with community contribution.

The University has joined forces with the Country Fire Authority (CFA), St John Ambulance and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards to give secondary school students who are also volunteers priority access to University study via La Trobe's Aspire early admissions program. 

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said all of the partners shared a common commitment to making a difference in their communities and encouraging volunteerism and education in Victoria. 

"At La Trobe, we are committed to making a positive difference to the world in which we live, and the Aspire program enables us to support the efforts of these inspiring young people whose values and ambitions align with ours. We want to encourage these community leaders of the future to come and study at La Trobe University," Professor Dewar said.   

The new partnership means that volunteers who have been committed to the CFA or St John for a minimum of six months will automatically meet the community engagement requirement for entry to La Trobe via the Aspire program. Duke of Edinburgh participants with a Bronze medal or above will also automatically qualify for the community engagement criteria.  

"Leadership, effective communication and people skills are the types of characteristics we look for in our students," Professor Dewar said.

"These volunteer organisations develop these skills in young people through their accredited training program. La Trobe is proud to be working with an organisation who, like us, hold themselves accountable for making a positive difference to the world in which we live." 

CFA Chief Executive Officer Michael Wootten said CFA and La Trobe University would also work together to support and offer volunteer opportunities for both students and staff across all Latrobe University Campuses. 

"This is a milestone opportunity for young Victorians wanting to make a real contribution to their community," Mr Wootten said.

"The partnership will also allow current CFA members to be supported in continuing their commitment as a volunteer throughout their studies. We hope this program will help support young Victorians to be community leaders into the future."  

Anoushka Gungadin, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Australia - Victoria, said the organisation was "delighted" to partner with La Trobe University to further recognise and support the inspiring young leaders who undertake their Duke of Edinburgh's Awards and contribute to the wellbeing of the community.  

"The values that underpin volunteering – community, selflessness, generosity, dedication – are what The Duke of Ed Award programs are all about," Ms Gungadin said. 

"Structured as part of the Award, the volunteering component encourages young people to develop a sense of responsibility and compassion towards others with the aim of creating a lifelong habit of community involvement and voluntary service." 

St John Ambulance Victoria CEO, Stephen Horton said the St John and La Trobe University partnership will be beneficial to members who have been active volunteering for more than 6 months.

"We are very pleased to be developing additional leadership paths for our members with La Trobe University and its Aspire program," Mr Horton said.

"Our participation will make another positive contribution to our community by further building resilience in our future leaders."

If successful, Aspire applicants will get an offer to study at La Trobe in September this year, securing a place to study before they complete their exams. Aspire students are invited to take part in an enrichment program that supports them through the final stages of high school and prepares them life at La Trobe.

The enrichment program offers:

  • VCE/HSC revision lectures to be held in the September school holidays
  • Mentoring from a La Trobe student ambassador
  • Access to the La Trobe Library on all campuses
  • Invitation to a 'Welcome to La Trobe' event
  • Various on-campus events and activities.

Applications for this year's Aspire program are now open and will close on August 31, 2015. A wide range of other community work and volunteering may also qualify students for entry to the Aspire program. For more information, students can visit the Aspire website.

Image: Year 12 student Taylor Lindsay hopes that her volunteering at the Country Fire Authority will give her priority selection for a nursing degree next year. Photo: Paul Jeffers, The Age

Media contact:

Leah Humphrys, Media and Communications Officer

Ph: 9479 5353

E: l.humphrys@latrobe.edu.au

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