3,500 Western Sydney school students to get inspiration from top achievers

Date: 05/04/2002

A new motivational careers program based on a TV chat show format will provide 3,500 Western Sydney teenagers with a unique insight into the world of work.

The free series of 10 'Jobs Alive' events, launched today by NSW Education and Training Minister John Watkins and hosted by the University of Western Sydney (UWS), will feature interviews by award-winning journalists with 80 men and women from a diverse range of careers.

Sporting and entertainment celebrities will join graduates from university, TAFE, apprenticeships and traineeships in the line-up of young role models donating half a day each to bring their jobs to life in front of Year 10 students from 60 schools.

Mr Watkins said Jobs Alive, sponsored by the NSW Department of Education and Training and the Australian Defence Force, was an example of the formation of successful partnerships between State and Commonwealth education providers and private industry.

"The events highlight areas of skills shortages, growth industries and encourage students to start thinking about their future," Mr Watkins said.

"One of the most powerful ways to inspire and inform young people about the different study, training and career pathways available is through the use of real life role models.

"I commend the guest speakers for both the time they are giving our students and for their remarkable and inspiring personal achievements."

The program is supported by UWS, TAFE NSW, Pacific Publications and the Enterprise Career Education Foundation.

During the ground-breaking program to be staged from April to August, students from public high schools in Sydney's western suburbs will also be treated to audio-visual presentations featuring photos and/or video footage of the interviewees in their school years and present-day work roles.

Separate events for male and female students will enable gender issues in the workplace to be targeted, including profiling men and women in non-traditional roles.

Australian Netball Team vice-captain and lawyer Liz Ellis was one of eight career guests interviewed individually on stage today as Jobs Alive made its debut at UWS Hawkesbury Campus.

Ms Ellis shared with 300 female students the challenge of juggling life as an elite sportswoman and a demanding legal career.

"In year 10 I was playing reps with School Girls NSW but it wasn't until Year 11 that I decided I wanted to be a solicitior," said Ellis, who worked for Corrs Chambers Westgarth in the city for four years after graduating from university.

"It was hard combining my netball career with full-time work as a solicitor but it's much easier now I have my own business because I basically can run my own show. My legal career helps when I'm entering into sponsorship contracts because instead of consulting a solicitor, I do it myself."

Successfully piloted in December 2000 for just 300 students, Jobs Alive's audience will grow dramatically later this year when a website allows students around Australia to access stories and photos of the real people behind the job titles.

Other guest speakers included 96.1 FM 'The Edge' Breakfast Radio Announcer Jo Abi and people from the fields of marketing, marine technology (Navy), IT, sales and marketing and the environment. Guest interviewers were Four Corners producer Anne Connolly and Girlfriend Magazine Editor Sandra Barker.


For more information about Jobs Alive please contact:

Fleur Lavarack, Minister's Office, 02 9228 4866 or 0421 051 310
Julie Nance, Nance Communications, 02 4751 1040 or 0428 511 040
Pat McKinlay, Senior Marketing Officer, UWS Marketing and Communications, 02 4570 1779