In 2018, three local, business owners from the Melbourne’s south east, all with strong connections to the local community, decided they wanted to give back. In the past Simon, Todd and Tyrone had all contributed to local business, social and community initiatives in a variety of ways but now, as a collective, they wished to raise their involvement and get behind something substantial to support the community that supports their staff, their business and other local businesses more generally.
Since that initial discussion, the focus had been on students, what the trio thought of as their future employees, and how they could best support them. The three businesses had a history of hosting industry tours and taking on student placements within their businesses and usually found there was a real connection with the “future employees”. They were looking for an opportunity to further support and develop that connection for the entire community.
While their first thoughts were around nutrition, running food programs with
mentoring opportunities for their senior staff, the intervention of Sandra led them to Andrew to discuss what, in the eyes of schools, their community actually needed. Feedback from schools showed us that the food issue was being addressed by most schools, through agencies and State Government intervention programs and that the real game changer and opportunity in education was availability of and access to technology for many students.
The statistics shared were sobering to say the least; with up to 6,000 students in the local region accessing borrowed computers at school, not able to take them home at night and lining up for limited access during the school day, at best. Then the show-
stopper- the impending ban on phones in classrooms from the start of 2019 was to have a massive unintended consequence for many students who, far from using them for social media, actually used smart phones for class research in lieu of not having
access to a personal computer.