“Linda and I are delighted to welcome you to Admiralty House. It’s an opportunity for us to thank you for the outstanding work you do in the community, acknowledge the generosity of Foundation supporters, and celebrate the success of the Tertiary Scholarship Program.
In the course of our work, Linda and I meet many people and hear about many issues affecting Australians’ lives.
Education – specifically, ensuring that all Australians have access to educational opportunities – is one issue I’m particularly passionate about.
According to the latest figures, 46,500 young people are in out-of-home care in Australia. Less than 3% of young people who live in foster care, group homes or out-of-home care arrangements have the opportunity to attend university, compared to approximately 40% of young people in the general population.
But there’s an added dimension to this imbalance.
For care leavers – and we know about 11,600 leave care each year, many on their 18th birthday – gaining entry into university can be difficult. It’s difficult because many care leavers need to overcome significant social and economic barriers to transition to university. Barriers such as frequent school changes, unstable housing or homelessness, involvement in the youth criminal justice system, and early parenthood. There are others.
One of the things I like about the Sisters of Charity Foundation is that it’s an organisation comprised of doers.
The Sisters of Charity Congregation identified the gap in access to education between the out-of-home care cohort and the general population and the Foundation responded.
The Tertiary Scholarship Program has been going for nearly 10 years, empowering dedicated students from out-of-home care backgrounds to transform their lives through education.
The Foundation, through the program, helps with students’ study expenses such as course fees and textbooks. This financial support enables students to focus on their studies and not be burdened with the pressure of simultaneously having to hold down multiple jobs.
The benefits of education are well known to us all. I’ve said on many occasions over the years – and I will keep saying it – education is transformative.
Linda, as many of you might know, used to be a teacher. I am passionate about education. Between us, we cannot tell you how proud we are to be associated with this Foundation.”
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