New online initiative and grants program

The Minister for School Education and Minister for Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett, today launched the Australian Business and Community Network’s (ABCN) Business and Education Employment Partnership website (BEEP) and an education grant for the J.P. Morgan Arts Access Program at the Optus Campus in Macquarie Park. The ABCN created the BEEP website to enable businesses and schools beyond The Network access to a toolkit that can assist them in developing individual programs. The site provides simple examples, how tos, checklists and best practice so that businesses and high needs schools can easily engage in building critical life skills for the students including improved literacy and numeracy.

As part of the ABCN program, J.P. Morgan, one of the member companies, has committed to supporting the often neglected area of the arts. Today the J.P. Morgan Arts Access Program committed to an education grant next year to facilitate students’ engagement in arts experiences.

Minister for School Education and Minister for Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett, said, “I’m pleased to be launching these two initiatives today which foster relationships that offer important guidance and encouragement for young people to gain self-confidence. The Business Education and Employment Partnership website and the announcement of the J.P. Morgan grant put students in a better position to succeed.”

Paul O’Sullivan, Chair of ABCN and CEO, Group Consumer and Country Chief Officer, Australia, SingTel, said, “The ABCN has produced great results, but we recognise that the model does not suit everyone and that some schools are daunted by the concept of partnering with businesses. I’m delighted that with the Australian Government’s support, we can work together to help develop critical life skills for high needs schools.”

With the launch of the BEEP website and announcement of the J.P. Morgan Arts Access grant, ABCN hopes to assist students with poor literacy and numeracy skills to overcome disenfranchisement in order to reconnect with the community.

Rob Priestley, ABCN Council Member and CEO of J.P. Morgan Australia and New Zealand, said, “By the end of the 2012 trial, the J.P. Morgan Arts Access Program will have made available 10 unique experiences, for up to 5,000 students from 18 high needs primary and secondary schools. For around 80% of the students that have attended so far, this has been their first time experiencing any sort of arts activity. Central to the program is transport to and from the arts activities. The feedback from the schools is that this is a critical determining factor in their participation due to the distance the schools are from many of the arts centres.”

About the ABCN

The Australian Business and Community Network is a partnership of highly committed national business leaders and companies working on mentoring programs for students from high needs schools. Since 2005, 10,000 mentors have participated in ABCN programs with schools in areas of high need to broaden the horizons of students and support educators.

Media contacts

Claire Wong
Optus Corporate Affairs
(02) 8082 7850

Carey Badcoe
ABCN Chief Executive
(02) 8988 6858

Andrew Donohoe
J.P. Morgan Communications
(02) 9003 8133