The Smith Family & ECOTECH: Together Providing Disadvantaged Students with Opportunities to Create a Better Future Main pic (L-R): Donnette Rushworth, The Smith Family’s Corporate Partnership Manager; Michelle Orr, ECOTECH People Development & Culture Lead; Jared, The Smith Family successful university graduate; Anton Leschen, Smith Family General Manager Victoria; and Nicholas Dal Sasso, ECOTECH Managing Director. The Smith Family is an Australian, independent non-profit children’s charity whose goal is to create opportunities for disadvantaged children and their families and encourage them to participate more fully in society, using education as a key tool. ECOTECH is proud to announce a partnership with The Smith Family — Australia’s largest children’s education charity. Building on a long history of providing work experience and cadetships at ECOTECH over many years, ECOTECH Managing Director, Nicholas Dal Sasso announced on 2 May that ECOTECH is investing in the education of disadvantaged Australian students from primary school right through to university. “This partnership is also about improving the number of young people choosing to embrace Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) – disciplines close to the heart and commercial success of ECOTECH,” said Nicholas. “Did you know, 75% of the current fastest growing occupations now need STEM skills? And typically, these occupations are dominated by students that come from TOGETHER 2018 Issue 3
high socio-economic backgrounds.” explained Anton Leschen, The Smith Family General Manager Victoria. Australia is facing a challenge in the future to compete on the international stage in STEM skills. By age 15, students from lower socio-economic backgrounds can be as much as three years behind students from more affluent families in mathematics, science and technology-based subjects. “STEM is the life-blood of every advanced industry and economy. Our children are the life-blood of our collective futures,” commented Nicholas. “How appropriate then, through this special partnership between ECOTECH and The Smith Family, we can improve both the uptake of STEM and the opportunities for disadvantaged students.” The Smith Family is improving the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children through their Learning for Life program. Students on the program receive financial assistance for educational expenses directly into their family’s bank account. They also receive direct help from The Smith Family’s team and access to vital extra support such as mentoring programs and a special project coordinator. Breaking the cycle of disadvantage means that children on the program are more inclined to move on to further education such as university or training, and as a result are highly likely to obtain a good job and start a meaningful career. “I am delighted ECOTECH will partner with The Smith Family. It is something I and every ECOTECH staff member can be proud of,” said Nicholas. To learn more about The Smith Family, and how you too can sponsor young people in need by providing access to The Smith Family’s Learning for Life education support programs, please visit www.thesmithfamily.com.au “ Through this special partnership, we can improve both the uptake of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering & Math] and the opportunities for disadvantaged students. ” ecotech.com 17
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