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OPINION: We must do all we can to uplift our youth

EDUCATION is one of the most important gifts we can give young people.
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This gift is something that for most Australians is easy enough to access, yet there are young people who are lacking the support and encouragement they need to begin their journey in higher education.

A 2012 OECD report into Australia’s educational landscape found that nearly 45per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds had attained tertiary education.

Having a tertiary education has become an almost necessary part of the career pathway, particularly in the business and accounting sector. However, this yellow brick road is not always accessible for young people with the pressures of financial support, personal or lifestyle challenges preventing them from taking those first steps.

The ability to help a young person to transform their lives, complete a qualification and secure a stable job has benefits beyond the individual and can extend throughout the community.

It is with this appreciation of the enormous cultural, community and economic benefits of education that in 2009 a group of accountants and business people from this region came together to help young people realise their potential and provide opportunities to access education pathways in accounting and business.

With this vision, the Bean Counters Ball was created in partnership with Samaritans and the Hunter TAFE Foundation.

The Bean Counters’ initiative has created avenues and greater opportunities for Hunter youth to access local educational providers, for which this region is so renowned, where they otherwise may not have.

Over the years, support from the business community has grown significantly and so has the level of assistance we are able to provide the young people who need it most. This initiative has produced some very tangible results in just five years – not only do the education opportunities created provide one young local person with a career pathway and support, it is also creating a culture within our community that sets a benchmark in educational assistance.

The unique partnership Bean Counters has with Samaritans and the Hunter TAFE Foundation is one that truly understands the value and importance of creating education pathways for the region’s youth.

These partnerships have facilitated the development of an effective and targeted program of support that ensures we invest the funds raised annually in such a way that it creates the best outcomes for the young people we support and for the community as a whole.

By investing in education pathways for the youth of today business and industry can help shape the region, create centres of expertise and transform lives for tomorrow.

Chad Rapsey is the Chairman of the Bean Counters Ball Committee and the Hunter Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand regional group. The Bean Counters ball is on Friday, November 7

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