School and Beyond
Young people affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires emerged as some of the most vulnerable and at-risk in affected communities. In 2014, the Victorian Department of Human Services partnered with FRRR to develop a program to address some of the key challenges affecting young these young people.
Known as School and Beyond, the program was delivered from 2015 to 2020 across 11 LGA’s in 2009 bushfire-affected regions.
The aims included removing financial and psychological barriers to participation and completion of study, supporting pathways to vocational training and employment; and to support the cost of education and training costs.
In total, 43 grants saw $496,250 in funding go toward supporting education and/or mental health initiatives that benefited 2,589 youth in 2009 bushfire-affected areas.
The following organisations were program partners and worked with young people in their communities:
- Berry Street Victoria, servicing the Baw Baw and La Trobe shires and touching on Murrindindi
- CIRE Inc., Yarra Ranges Region
- EACH, Yarra Ranges Region
- Eaglehawk Secondary College, Bendigo area
- Ellimatta Inc, Kinglake Ranges in Murrindindi Shire
- Healesville Living and Learning Centre, Yarra Ranges Shire
- Kurnai College, La Trobe Shire
- NESAY, Indigo, Alpine and Wangaratta Regions
- Whittlesea Secondary College, Whittlesea area in collaboration with Whittlesea Community House and City of Whittlesea Youth Services
- Yarram Secondary College, Wellington Shire
- Yea High School, northern Murrindindi Shire
The aims of the program were to benefit young people by:
- Improving employment pathways for youths from bushfire affected regions
- Relieving financial barriers to participation
- Providing alternative avenues for youths to engage in education and training
- Encouraging youth to take up more meaningful roles in their communities
- Increasing in school attendance
- Increasing self-reported self-esteem and confidence
- Improving sense of purpose and self-worth
- Enrolment in and completion of vocational training programs
- Engagement with local community activities such as leadership and mentoring programs.
In addition, the program aimed to achieve the following health and community outcomes:
- Improving the capacity of the services working with youth to assist in the development of appropriate responses to identified needs among fire-affected young people
- Reducing the prevalence and impact of problems associated with youths disengaging in educational and vocational activities in bushfire affected regions.