Western Australia is our fastest-growing placement state, where the challenges and opportunities differ widely between regions.
Source: Our Impact (2020)
Western Australia is Australia’s third largest state, and much of it is outback.
As is true across the country, schools in rural or remote communities in Western Australia are not always able to offer the learning environment students need to reach their full potential, due to constrained access to learning resources and subject specialists.
A school in a rural community generally offers half as many academic subjects compared to its metropolitan counterpart.
But in metropolitan areas too, the education a student is able to access depends on factors outside of their control such as cultural background and socioeconomic status – or even parents’ own level of education.
Researchers found that in Western Australia, one in two students whose parents did not complete Year 12 did not meet the benchmark academic milestone for Year 7.
Western Australia is a diverse state with a lot of lifestyle benefits to offer those moving interstate – whether for day trips, weekends away, outdoor pursuits, adventure or just enjoying afternoons in the sunshine.
Placements in Western Australia continue to grow each year, and there’s a real sense of community among Associates and Alumni. We place in metropolitan Perth, with all its beaches and the benefits of living in a big city, as well as a number of much more remote places like Kalgoorlie, which is a vibrant and thriving mining community, seven hours inland from Perth.
The beautiful scenery, warm weathers, relatively low population per square kilometre, offer the perfect combination for exploring the state in downtime, while the educational inequity faced by many students and their communities offers opportunities for impact from day one.
Perth is a large sprawling metropolitan area which stretches north to south along a spectacular coastline. There are significant differences in socioeconomic advantage between suburbs, largely related to the geographical proximity of each suburb to the coast or the river.
As such, our partner schools are generally located between 30 to 90 minutes travel time from the CBD, inland from the coast.
The schools we partner with serve diverse multicultural communities, whose young people have complex and varied needs, as well as enormous potential.
Outside of the reward from helping students realise their strengths, the natural beauty of Perth, together with an enviable climate provides for a relaxed, healthy and active lifestyle.
Most regional WA placements are inland from the coast with significant demand in areas such as the Goldfields and Wheatbelt.
Inner regional locations are generally two to three hours from Perth and include smaller towns like Northam in the Wheatbelt and Donnybrook in the south west.
Outer regional locations are generally larger communities between four and seven hours from Perth by road (some being more accessible via plane) and include places like Kalgoorlie in the Goldfields and Albany in the Great Southern region.
Partner schools in these regions value Associates’ subject matter expertise, life experience, and broader contribution to their communities.
For Associates, these placements provide a great mix of country living, access to beautiful natural settings, and outdoor recreational pursuits whilst they strive to open up new worlds and opportunities for the students they work with.
Our closest remote partner school, Karratha Senior High School, is 15 hours drive from Perth; our furthest, East Kimberley College in Kununurra, is 33 hours. Partner schools in these locations offer a very unique experience.
The majority of these locations benefit from the support of the mining and tourism industries in terms of infrastructure (Karratha has an international airport, for example) and are surrounded by spectacular natural scenery.
Very remote locations (like Derby and Halls Creek) are less well-resourced but culturally abundant.
These are once-in-a-lifetime placements for Associates who have a love of the great outdoors and are looking for an opportunity to make a real difference for some of our most marginalised young people.
Whilst at times these placements require extra grit and determination, over time the results of an Associate’s contribution can be immeasurable.