Reaching out to the next generation

Uni-Reach program - Tam Roberts and Edward Kriletich
Tam Roberts (mentor) and Edward Kriletich (coordinator) with the Griffith Uni-Reach program

High school students who may never have considered a university education are being inspired to go further by the Griffith Uni-Reach program.

Uni-Reach assists more than 750 students from 20 high schools in the Brisbane, Logan and Gold Coast regions, where historically there has been limited participation in university.

The Uni-Reachteam consists of students, staff and academics who visit schools, host on campus workshops and support students through high school, their university admission and transition into their first year of study.

Mahar Adan, from the Sudan is in year 12 at Woodridge SHS and plans to study Pharmaceutical science at the Gold Coast. She joined Uni-Reach in year 11 to meet other students and see if uni was really for her.

Uni-Reach program - Mahar Adan Year 12 at Woodridge SHS
Mahar Adan, Year 12 at Woodridge SHS visits the Gold Coast campus with Uni-Reach

“We make new friends and get some assistance with academic learning and that has helped me to feel more confident about studying Pharmacy, which is really what I want to do with my life.”

“I knew that I wanted to study at uni but I wasn’t sure I could do it. The mentors have been a great help in showing me that I can. They also teach us the techniques of being successful at study that I would not have known.”

Isi Otuomon is in year 12 at Woodridge State High School. A New Zealand citizen of Nigerian background, Isi says the benefits from her participation in Uni-Reach are in how it provides a pathway for students like her and makes understanding uni a little bit easier.

Uni-Reach program - Isi Otuomon - Year 12 at Woodridge SHS
Isi Otuomon, Year 12 at Woodridge SHS visits the Gold Coast campus with Uni-Reach

“I am hoping to study towards a career in dental hygiene and now I can see how I can do that,” said Isi.

“I liked the on campus workshops the most, because you got to see what uni was like and learn a bit about how it all works. Now it won’t seem so scary when I arrive for my first classes.”

Uni-Reach also offers casual employment opportunities to current Griffith students as mentors for the program and many mentors are themselves past Uni-Reach participants, who can empathise with students and welcome the opportunity to give something back.

Student mentor and bachelor of health science student Tam Roberts, says Uni-Reach is about inspiring kids from low socio-economic backgrounds through fun activities that open them up to new ways of learning.

“We teach them about independent learning and we simulate what university study is like through mock tutorial sessions,” said Tam.

“It’s also about having fun, meeting other students and staff and just starting to develop the skills, knowledge and responsibilities that are required to be successful at university.”

Since its beginning in 1996, Uni-Reachhas been both sustained and enhanced in response to stakeholders’ feedback, ensuring it remains relevant as learning environments and the schooling system change.

Uni-Reach’s activities include an outreach program of in-school activities, on-campus University experiences, QTAC Application Fee Support Scheme, Uni-Start admission and scholarship scheme and the Uni-Key first-year transition program.

Uni-Reachprovides resources that are designed to empower students and their supporters by demystifying the higher education experience and assisting them to make informed decisions about their post-school options.

Flexible pathways have also been introduced to facilitate access to university and link students to support such as financial assistance and transition.

Uni-Reach has received National recognition from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council for University Teaching (now the Office for Learning and Teaching) for Programs that Enhance Learning-Widening Participation (2011), plus a citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning (2010). For information visit the Office for Learning & Teaching / Awards / Uni-Reach

Griffith University has a longstanding commitment to promote diversity, social justice and engagement within the community with the aim of increasing the participation and success of students from low socio-economic backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and students with disabilities.

For more information on outreach activities and access to Griffith visit:Student Equity Services