Lead University: University of New South Wales
Lead Researcher: Ann Jardine
Research Team: Ann Jardine, Ada Yeung and Tamsyn Richards
Year Funded: 2016
Funding Received: $174,405
The project delivered an e-mentoring scheme with two regional/remote partner schools in the UNSW ASPIRE program designed to develop the higher education aspirations of low socioeconomic status Year 8 and 9 students. Mentors and mentees discussed career-related topics over six online sessions to promote knowledge of post-school education and career options, as well as providing firsthand insights into the university experience.
- The project had two objectives:
- Run a pilot e-mentoring scheme with two regional/remote partner schools in the UNSW ASPIRE program designed to develop the higher education aspirations of low socioeconomic status (SES) Year 8 and 9 students.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the scheme.
- Mentors and mentees engaged in career-related topics over six online sessions. By talking to current university students, mentees were able to find out what it is like to study at a university; the type of university courses that exist; the type of jobs which a university degree can lead to; and to learn about the social environment of a university campus. The mentoring was designed to help mentees to evaluate their options and to improve motivation to study at university.
- The project comprised the following components:
- Two ASPIRE schools were selected to participate, both located in regional New South Wales.
- Training materials and guidelines were completed and a technology platform selected.
- Schools were visited and a total of 26 students selected to participate in the program. Schools identified Year 9 students to be most suitable for the mentoring scheme.
- A pre-training scheme event was held in Dubbo that linked the schools, selected students, and the University.
- Six online sessions were completed and mentors completed a mid-program debrief to replace feedback sessions.
- A web-based toolkit was developed to inform others when setting up a mentoring scheme.
- The pilot e-mentoring scheme was evaluated: three stakeholder meetings with teachers were conducted in each school; two semi-structured interviews were also held at each school; mentors and mentees completed pre- and post-program surveys; and mentees participated in a focus group study at the completion of the program.
- There was a high level of satisfaction by teachers, mentors and and mentees.
- Pre- and post-program survey results showed a significant increase in mentees’ knowledge of post-school options after high school:
- The percentage of students who had a clear understanding of the job they would like to do in future increased from 42 to 65.
- The percentage of students who had a clear understanding of their intended post-school training and qualifications increased from 35 to 53.
- Over 90 per cent of mentees agreed:
- It was beneficial to talk to someone other than a teacher or parent about career-related topics.
- Mentoring programs have motivated them to pursue higher education after school.
- Among mentors:
- Over 90 per cent felt that mentoring had increased their interpersonal skills.
- Over 70 per cent felt that mentoring had increased their leadership skills.
- Over 70 per cent felt that mentoring had made a difference in a young person’s life.
Summary prepared by the NCSEHE.