selfie with kids

Hedland success program

‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’ – Albert Einstein

While there’s no doubt on the importance of literacy and numeracy, it must be said that for many students a more holistic education journey that caters to their abilities is needed.

The Hedland Success Program, which is part of the BHP Pilbara Education Partnership, is a program that provides skills and training to students who benefit from additional wraparound support, rather than mainstream schooling.

The Partnership applies directly to Hedland Senior High School – a school with 1,100 students and the only high school servicing the Town of Port Hedland.

Port Hedland is the second largest town in the Pilbara region, with a population just over 14,000. It’s also Australia’s largest iron ore loading port and is linked to a number of mines in the Pilbara region - which means for school leavers there are many opportunities to find work not only in the region, but in the town itself. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that students of all abilities are given the best opportunities available.

Deputy Principal Laura Francis, who oversees the program, is a huge advocate for the support it provides.

‘I love working at Hedland Senior High School, because we have great relationships with our kids and I really enjoy particularly working with the Success Program students. The program allows our most at-risk students and youth to reengage in school and get the support they need to go into their post-school destinations and pathways.

Students in Working for Success have access to a range of pathways and opportunities as a result of their in-class academic engagement, as well as participation in work placements. In 2022, a number of students were offered full-time employment or an apprenticeship as a direct result of the work placements’.

Ashley, a student who is taking part in the program, reckons the program is helping him improve his education.

‘So the class I'm in now is really good. It's helped me push me through stuff that mainstream couldn't do. So like they're getting me to do my work, stay in my chair, helping me out, trying to help me get into jobs with work experience.’

With plenty of industry on their doorstep, students are given an opportunity to develop skills needed for when they leave school. The skills they are given are not only of the academic variety, but ones of real-world application, such as garment-making, cooking, and barista skills. These skills will help the students apply for jobs within town, thus improving the close-knit community.

BHP supports the program with funding that covers staff and resources. Perhaps of more importance, however, students are also given access to micro-credentials and training that gives the students confidence in their abilities, and could also help them find work within BHP’s operations.