Bankwest is celebrating a decade of supporting students in schools in low socio-economic status (SES) areas as part of an ongoing mentoring program run with the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN).
Ten years ago Bankwest partnered with the ABCN to start providing mentors to work with students from high-need schools, with the volunteers and students meeting regularly over several months, working across valuable life and work skills to set up the students for future success. Since the program began Bankwest colleagues have mentored over 300 students.
Bankwest Head of Corporate Responsibility, Lisa Holley said: “At Bankwest we believe we can use our unique skills and resources to make a positive difference to local communities beyond our core business. This program is a great example of the many ways our people give their time, with over 9,400 hours volunteered last financial year.”
ABCN’s WA state manager Tiffany Edwards said: “Whether it’s the GOALS, the InterAct or the Innovate program, from start to finish you see the students grow in confidence.
“The Bankwest volunteers offer a different perspective on the corporate world that can’t be taught in a classroom. The mentoring and in-kind support provided by Bankwest is critical to our success.”
In 2018 Bankwest colleagues have been involved in more programs than ever before with 47 colleagues mentoring students from WA high schools such as Girrawheen, Swan View, Armadale, Balga and Thornlie.
Bankwest Transformation and Technology, Senior Manager Decisioning Systems, Tony Nunn, has been involved since the beginning of the ABCN partnership and for the last few years has facilitated one of the programs.
“It gives them a sense of self-worth. It shows them that there is further education once they leave school and it gives them a few eye openers for what they can achieve.
“At the start you’ll have maybe 10 students who wouldn’t speak at all. By the end of the session they’ll be standing up, giving presentations, doing their research and speaking to a big group of people who are for all intents and purposes strangers,” he added.
He says the feedback from the students involved in the various ABCN programs is overwhelmingly positive and shows that mentoring leads to positive educational outcomes. He added that it is this feedback which spurs on the program volunteer.
“Speaking with the mentors gave me confidence that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to, I just need to work hard and I will succeed,” one student recently said to us. It’s these kinds of comments which keep me so totally engaged with the program,” said Tony.