Looking back at HEPPP: Curtin AHEAD
This article was first published in February 2016, profiling another successful HEPPP funded initiative providing access and equality of opportunity for disadvantaged students.
The AHEAD Program continues to enable students in low socioeconomic status school and community groups to overcome the challenges to participation in higher education, and will feature in the upcoming NCSEHE publication Five Years on from HEPPP to be released in late 2017.
Curtin’s Addressing Higher Educational Access Disadvantage (AHEAD) Program is a multifaceted educational outreach program that aims to raise the aspirations, awareness, and capability of members of equity target groups to pursue higher education.
Curtin AHEAD team members engage with approximately 5,000 students, from primary school to year 12, through a series of learning and aspiration raising activities. In addition, the team offers engagement opportunities for members of the community, outside of the traditional school system, to encourage participation in higher education. Curtin AHEAD works specifically with individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds, members of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) communities, individuals of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, people from remote and regional communities and prison residents, across metro and regional Western Australia.
In late 2015, the AHEAD team, comprised of a core group of qualified educators and community engagement practitioners, as well as a career consultant, gamification expert and prospective student advisor, released a case study publication (available below), showcasing a number of their successful programs and a selection of milestones and achievements attained during the year. The programs developed utilise technology, augmented reality, sports, hands-on activities, and provide employment and volunteer opportunities for current university students. The activities are all based on current research, pedagogy, and career guidance, and are run with the assistance of groups as diverse as local governments, The Smith Family, yourtutor, AIME, Rowing WA, Parkerville Children and Youth Care, Dismantle, and Leaders Australia, just to name a few.
In 2016, Curtin AHEAD continues to strive to create opportunities for sustainable positive change and to address broader Western Australian community challenges of access to higher education.