Support for disadvantaged students across Penrith will be a priority as part of a $3 million commitment by Labor.
The funding is set to help students access higher education through new specialty programs at Western Sydney University.
Programs working with refugee groups, peak bodies and not-for-profit organisations to encourage students to complete Year 12 are to benefit from the funding.
Kingswood resident, Isaac Mukoko is an active member of the Western Sydney University refugee student club, United Voices.
Migrating from Zimbabwe, Mr Mukoko was determined to get educated make a new life for his family, starting at TAFE and working his way up to now studying a PHD.
He said the group plays an enormous role in supporting local disadvantaged students reach their potential.
“It supports current students who are newly arrived migrants, refugees and non refugees in allowing them to realise the opportunities at the university but also allows those students to become ambassadors so that they can visit children or high school students and become role models for them,” he said.
“I have seen this to be a very important program since I joined it and I have managed to visit many schools, from the visits we were able to meet and mentor young migrant students who are very eager to advance in their education.”
The funding will also support the launch of programs such as mentoring for year 8-12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, ‘taster’ days, for students to learn about higher education pathways and a program to support young Pacific Islanders in low socio-economic areas.
Labor Candidate for Lindsay, Diane Beamer said supporting disadvantaged students in Lindsay is a top priority of hers.
“Lifting people up through education is part of Labor’s DNA. This election, we have a comprehensive plan to ensure that no matter your background you get a real shot through a quality education,” she said.
“The programs to be run by the Kingswood Campus are a big part of helping our local students get the kind of education they deserve and I’m proud of this Labor commitment.”
Shadow Assistant Minister for Universities, Louise Pratt said the announcement is on top of Labor’s plan to abolish Scott Morrison’s “unfair cap” on university places. She said abolishing the cap will give an extra 200,000 Australians the chance to go to university over the next decade.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.