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Our Bradford Pathway Program participants were yesterday provided an opportunity to meet Roger and Lesley Gillespie, whose generous funding through their family foundation has brought this program to life.
The Bradford Shepparton Program provides support to Year 11 students from term four, and throughout Year 12, through a fortnightly mentor program with current La Trobe University students and staff. In addition to this, students are provided an intensive introduction day to university, access to wellbeing and parent engagement workshops and academic capacity building activities.
Students enrolled in the program receive an early conditional place to La Trobe University and access to a pool of financial support where necessary, with the aim to inspire, inform and encourage participants to consider higher education.
The program was introduced in 2019 based on census data, which showed higher education participation rates for people aged 19-21 are at 13 per cent in Shepparton, compared with 50 and 35 per cent in Melbourne and Australia respectively.
The program was set-up following the success of a similar program run at La Trobe’s Albury-Wodonga campus, which saw a 44 per cent increase in student enrolment from 2018 to 2019 from participating schools. The programs being delivered in Albury/Wodonga and Shepparton are aimed improve educational pathways and life opportunities for young people in regional Victoria and to ensure that regardless of your background, or the town in which you grew up, university is attainable for everyone.
Funding from the Gillespie Family Foundation helped to launch the Bradford Shepparton Pathway Program – named after the late Audrey May Gillespie (nee Bradford), mother of La Trobe alumnus and Bakers Delight co-founder Roger Gillespie.
Roger and Lesley yesterday spoke with the current Bradford participants about the program and the opportunities it provides students to follow their dreams and be successful in their own right. The Gillespie family presented the students with Bradford program hoodies, while the students were able to chat to and thank Roger and Lesley for their ongoing support.