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Prince Charles to improve schools in areas of Geelong

Through The Seeing is Believing program that Prince Charles oversees, they will be working on improving schools in disadvantaged areas of Geelong, Australia by linking them with the local business community.

Established in the United Kingdom in 1990 and brought into Canada after, The Seeing is Believing program helps business leaders and executives to visit schools in underprivileged areas then to find a way in which their businesses can help through mentoring or sponsorship.

Paul Sheahan, a trustee of the Prince’s Charities Australia (PCA) noted that they would help facilitate the process.

“If we can get individual businesses to form a relationship with individual schools, then we’ve got a chance of complementing the programs these schools put in place,

“Because, as we know, you get nothing for nothing and if you’re going to have a complex variety of programs, you’ve got to be able to fund them somehow.

“I could see their brains ticking over. They were already thinking about how they could be useful to the school,” Sheahan, a former principal himself added.

After the rollout of the program in Geelong, Mr. Sheahan said Prince Charles will base the extension of the program throughout Australia on the success of how it does there first.

Nothern Bay College, just one of the schools on the tour, was formed in 2011 after a merger took place between nine schools in Geelong’s northern suburbs.

Principal of Northern Bay College, Fred Clarke had many ideas of how business leaders would help out saying

“There’s lots of things they can fund,

“We’ve got a project called the Northern Bay Guarantee, which is a group of young mums living independently and we’re linking them back into education.

“And I talked about a pro bono lawyer on site, and straight after that I had a person from the TAC (Transport Accident Commission) saying, look we’ve got 35 lawyers looking for pro bono work.”

Mr. Clarke went on to say that creating relationships with the local business were essential as the school is part of the community.

“We want to be responsive to what industry needs, for future employment,” he said.

Assistant principal, Liz McNamara at Newcomb Secondary College, which is also part of the program spoke of how the bond between the businesses and students can show them what the experience of corporate life could be like.

“There’s quite a bit of structural poverty in the area, so significant disadvantage for our students and our families,”

“It’s business providing mentorship for our students, our students having an opportunity to go into real workplaces,” she added.

“We’re trying to keep our students really future-focussed, increasing their employability options, and making sure they’ve got every opportunity into the future.”

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