Western opens the door for students to experience university life

Mr Ahmad Al Rady, keynote speaker at the 2019 Fast Forward Year 12 Conference

Western Sydney University’s Fast Forward Program has brought together close to 800 students from 55 Greater Western Sydney high schools in an effort to encourage year 12 students to explore higher education.

Developed by the University’s Widening Participation team, in the Office of Engagement Marketing, the Fast Forward Program’s Year 12 Conference aimed to raise educational aspirations for high school students from non-traditional backgrounds.

During the conference, held at the University’s Parramatta South campus, the students had the opportunity to select 2 of 30 different workshops that showcased the range of opportunities, careers and courses available at University.  These engaging workshops were presented by Western Sydney University academic and professional staff.

Mr Jim Micsko, Manager of Widening Participation, said the day provided the opportunity to prepare students for life after year 12.

“There is a strong commitment from the University to assist students in reaching their full potential and to assist those students considering further study after the HSC. Many of the students in the program are from areas that are currently underrepresented in higher education,” said Mr Micsko.

This year, the Conference’s keynote speaker was Mr Ahmad Al Rady –  a Western Sydney University graduate, poet, podiatrist and young community leader –  who came to Australia from Iraq as a 9-year-old.  Mr Al Rady spoke to students about the opportunities that higher education provided him, the need to give back to the community, and the importance of creativity and knowing that life may take you down many different paths.

Since 2013, more than 60 percent of all Western Sydney high school students involved in the Fast Forward Program have progressed to higher education, with 27 percent of all participants enrolling to study at Western Sydney University.  Many of these students are the first in their family to enter higher education.

The following schools participated in the 2019 Fast Forward Year 12 Conference:

  • Airds High School
  • All Saints Catholic Senior College
  • Ambarvale High School
  • Ashcroft High School
  • Auburn Girls High School
  • Australian International Academy
  • Bankstown Girls High School
  • Belmore Boys High School
  • Blaxland High School
  • Bossley Park High School
  • Camden High School
  • Campbelltown Performing Arts High School
  • Canley Vale High School
  • Chester Hill High School
  • Chifley College Bidwill
  • Chifley College Senior Campus
  • Condell Park High School
  • Cranebrook High School
  • Doonside Technology High School
  • Eagle Vale High School
  • East Hills Boys High School
  • Elizabeth Macarthur High School
  • Emmaus Catholic College
  • Erskine Park High School
  • Fairfield High School
  • Fairvale High School
  • Glenmore Park
  • Granville Boys High School
  • Granville South Creative and Performing Arts High School
  • Greystanes High School
  • Holroyd High School
  • Hoxton Park High School
  • James Busby
  • Jamison High School
  • John Edmondson High School
  • Leumeah High School
  • Lurnea High School
  • Macquarie Fields High School
  • McCarthy Catholic College
  • Miller Technology High School
  • Mount Carmel Catholic College
  • Nagle College
  • Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School
  • Parramatta High School
  • Picton High School
  • Plumpton High School
  • Punchbowl Boys High School
  • Rooty Hill High School
  • Sarah Redfern High School
  • Sir Joseph Banks High School
  • St Andrews College
  • Strathfield South High School
  • Thomas Reddall High School
  • Wiley Park Girls High School
  • Windsor High School
  • Wyndham College