Year 12’s Fast Forward to University

Students from St Johns Park High School attend the virtual Fast Forward Year 12 Conference

Western Sydney University has hosted the first virtual Fast Forward Conference for Year 12 participants of the Fast Forward Program.

The conference, which attracted 1000 students from more than 80 western Sydney High Schools, is a culmination of the four-year Fast Forward Program run by the University’s Widening Participation team. The program aims to encourage students to see the value in continuing their education through to Year 12 and beyond.

Students were able to select three workshop sessions during the day from a selection of thirty different presentations delivered by Academic and Professional members of staff as well as industry partners.

This year the keynote address was given by Western Sydney University’s Professor James Arvanitakis, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement and Advancement). Professor Arvanitakis was awarded the Prime Minister’s University Teacher of the year award in 2012 and is a regular panellist on programs such as ABC’s The Drum and Weekend Breakfast TV program.

Professor Arvanitakis shared his story with the year 12 students and talked about his challenges when first starting university study. He also discussed his experiences in Wyoming during the USA Presidential cycle.

Manager, Widening Participation Engagement, Mr Jim Micsko said Fast Forward is the University’s flagship widening participation program.

“Western Sydney University has a long-term commitment to running and developing programs with our local schools to promote successful participation in higher education to anyone who might benefit from it,” he said.

“Programs like Fast Forward provide the opportunity to engage with young people in our region and their families, and to encourage their participation in post-school education.”

Students from Airds High School attend the virtual Fast Forward Year 12 Conference

As part of the program, students are invited to attend Western Sydney University events and opportunities, including mid-year information sessions, HSC Study Days and Open Day later in the year.

Over 70 per cent of the Year 12 students who participated in Fast Forward in 2020 were made offers to study at a university, with more than 300 students enrolling at Western in 2021. Over the last decade, more than 2,000 students who completed the four-year Fast Forward program have enrolled at Western Sydney University.


5 March 2021

Kathryn Bannon, Media Officer