Lighthouse Project calls for mentors
The Lighthouse Project is a workplace mentoring program established in the Parramatta Diocese in 2001 and since then has matched over 180 students from 17 schools across western Sydney with volunteer mentors. With the 2008 program commencing shortly, the Lighthouse Project are searching for more workplace mentors.
Students in Years 9 or 10 are provided with the opportunity to develop key skills and experience in a learning environment outside school. Students spend one day per week on the job with their mentor. Workplaces vary, and in the past, students have worked with a plumber, reflexologist and in a bank, pet shop, pre-school and the local council. The students gain practical experience and take responsibility for a number of important tasks just as if they were an employee of the business.
Mentoring is widely recognised as a highly effective practice as it provides one-on-one support and motivation from an adult who is not a family member or school teacher. All mentors undertake an 18-hour TAFE course to gain accreditation in the Mentoring in the Community unit. They are supported throughout the program by workplace trainers who are in weekly contact and visit fortnightly to help them provide the best possible learning experience for their students.
Lighthouse mentor, Barry Churchland from the Carpentry and Joinery Division, Nirimba Education Precinct, said he was pleased he took part in the project.
“When I was asked to take part in the Lighthouse project I was curious. What could I possibly contribute to a program involving Year 9 and 10 students?
I soon learned that the benefits flowed both ways. My student gained a little of the knowledge I have accumulated over the years and I soon learned that it does not matter what a person’s age or background, they probably know something you don’t and you too can learn from them. My student, Arthur, lightened my Tuesdays.”
The Lighthouse Project is currently seeking caring, interested volunteers to mentor students. Tradespeople are particularly welcome. To find out more about assisting a student in this program please contact:
Melinda Phillips, Education Officer Lighthouse
tel: 0417 151 233
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