Recapping on 2023- the start! Edge left the EPP
Since we were approached in 2019, we have been working with Training Services and NSW Education Department to bring our concept to life as part of the Education Pathways Pilot, then program.
We went through covid, floods, fires, everything that could have been thrown at us, was. Despite all of these obstacles, we still delivered.
We’re grateful as a company to have had the initial financial support to scale up our workshop, and a project lead in the early days who helped us navigate all of the bumps in the road. Fiona - thank you so much.
We were able to bring our workshops to the attention of the schools, who didn’t know our concept existed past the Illawarra. We met the most amazing, funny, and engaging students who also appreciated working hands on than be lectured at.
Working closely side by side Head Teachers to deliver these workshops was always a pleasure. We had head teachers help us set up, pack vans, wipe mirrors and help be the go between to negotiate food, students and spaces. There wasn’t much that they didn’t do, and you were supportive of our concept because they too saw the need for it in their schools. We all had the same outcome and that was what worked for students as we all had been in schools and know exactly what they needed. We created great friendships along the way with you all.
EDGE serviced schools in the pilot phase in the North Coast and South West Sydney regions, and with the quick expansion we added in the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven, New England and North West, Central Coast, Hunter and Newcastle and Western Sydney.
Despite being a small team, we grew in size to service all of these areas, and some days ran double teams in Sydney and out west. The quality and consistency of EDGE was there every single time. Last minute scheduling and a change in the goal posts, we still delivered. Despite being doubted if we could, we certainly did and were asked to open it up to every rural and remote school to complete in Term One. My team did over 90 schools in two terms and we averaged 36 workshops a term. That’s a standard we were happy to set.
A thankyou to our RIEP colleagues who sourced employers for us, and the REIP officers in particular who consistently gave us great employers in our workshops- Jenny Watts and Neil Bessant, Christine Assanti and Rhonda Stone.
Another thankyou to the SBAT Co-ordinators who often stepped up on panels to fill in gaps and went above and beyond for myself and the EDGE Team sourcing employers- Suzanne Taylor, Megan Spence, Jacinta Gorton & Mel Daskey
To the teachers who always welcomed us, and especially those who were repeat bookings, and were able to turn around a keen audience quickly- we appreciate the dreaded task of the note collecting, being flexible and going beyond for us to make sure we had the best delivery.
We are proud of what we achieved with staff and students. A report was delivered by Western Sydney University rating us the best long-term return on investment against all the government programs in the EPP. Our workshops are designed to be interactive, hands on and fun- but unfortunately- that was not the direction the program managers wanted moving forward past Term One.
We’re glad that teachers who were in attendance at a workshop saw things differently and saw the value in our program. Not many places past Tamworth had barbers and we were proud to cut hair for as many people in the school and we had our youngest member as a kindy student sit in the chair. We’re about connection and community.
Everyone would talk about the confidence and change they saw in their students, the difference having a talk to a professional meant, as a lot of students don’t get to access these services in metro and regional areas. Our workshops are about qualities that weren’t measured, increased confidence, actually getting employment, being able to talk to an employer and being in a different mindset by the end of the day. It is super special to still be in contact with students who were in our workshops and thanked us for the day, and still keep in contact to keep us informed of their progress. I have never seen that from other programs
Anyone can put a team together, and many have tried to emulate our program- but what’s special is how we deliver these with the right people. The right EDGE staff who believe in the bigger picture, who have an understanding of what we’re doing- helping young people to be better, do better.
Other companies that run similar had approached schools we had been in and asked how they could emulate EDGE but do it better. The schools replied with “Don’t- they do it best.” I appreciated those honest conversations.
We are grateful for the school’s continued support by booking a workshop, buying our online programs and we are finding ways to help you do that. We are here to EDGE-ucate your students!