Big Ideas in Action: Skillset Senior College

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

When we talk about Big Ideas that create meaningful change for Regional NSW a shining example is Skillset's Senior College.

In late 2013 Skillset set themselves the huge task of opening the first independent alternative senior school for students in the Bathurst region. Their aim was to re-engage young people back into high school education through a student-centred, adult learning environment.

In 2015 Skillset welcomed its first group of Year 10 Students. In 2017 this first wave of students sat the HSC and then went on to either further their education (at university or TAFE), took up an apprenticeship or entered full-time work.

Re-engaging young people back into education has significant impacts, not only for the students themselves, but for their families, for their future employers and for the community at large. With WRI's help, Skillset is now able to quantify these impacts through an impact assessment.

Skillset Senior College Students. Photo provided courtesy of Skillset.

According to the impact assessment 72% of students would have left school altogether if they hadn't enrolled at Skillset Senior College. Furthermore, 59% of parents and carers of students from the Bathurst campus reported improved family lives as a result of their student attending the College. Eighty percent of parents and carers of Bathurst students believed the College had improved the attitude, mood and wellbeing of their student.

From the community's point of view, re-engaging young people into education and then into further education and employment creates Human Capital. This is a measure of the increased earnings these students will earn over their lifetime as a result of their education as well as the increased productivity their future employers will experience. For 2017-18 students of Skillset Senior College in Bathurst, their total lifetime human capital ads up to $6.56 million dollars.

The operations of the College also generate $6.60 worth of public benefits for every $1 Skillset Senior College Bathurst spends.

The Bathurst campus of Skillset Senior College now has 70 students across years 10-12 and in 2019 opened a second campus in Dubbo to provide the same opportunities for students in the Dubbo region.

Creating this kind of meaningful change for young people in regional NSW is a huge success and an excellent example of how ideas, big or small, can have significant impacts for our regional communities.

A summary of the impact assessment completed by WRI for Skillset is available online.

Skillset are a silver sponsor of Big Ideas for Regional NSW.