It’s hard to believe that six months have already passed since we awarded our 2015 ABCN scholarships. During this time our 15 new scholars have met on various occasions with their mentors with some shadowing the mentors in the workplace for a day to attend meetings and gain a greater insight to working life. Synchronised one-day workshops held in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland via video conference have also provided scholars and mentors from each state the opportunity to get to know each other.
The highlight of year one is always the annual ABCN Scholarship Foundation Leadership Summit which brings together our newest scholars and their mentors over two days of interactive workshops to network and work together on leadership skills and strategies. Held in Melbourne for the first time this year, the Summit also includes a formal dinner attended by all scholars, their mentors and members of ABCN’s Board and Council.
ABCN scholarships send a clear message to young people that corporate Australia cares about their futures’, said ABCN Chair, Helen Zimmerman in her opening address at the 2016 Foundation Dinner. ‘We are proud to support you in your journeys to tertiary education and meaningful careers. Because despite the challenges you have faced and will face, we believe you deserve every opportunity to realise your dreams.’
The Leadership Summit is an essential component of the program. For students sharing this experience, it is an important opportunity to get to know their peers as these new relationships will ultimately form the basis of a supportive network outside of their existing community. The participation of their mentors makes the experience even more valuable. As one principal commented recently:
‘Students who receive ABCN scholarships all say it is not all about the money, though I know they plan very carefully how to use it and make it go a long way. All students state that a significant part of the scholarship for them is having a mentor. Someone to talk to, to discuss life goals and decisions with, to encourage them to take risks and have high expectations, and most importantly to believe in them.’