Future Direction Network

  • 2015

  • Social Impact

Designed By:

  • Future Direction Network

Commissioned By:

Future Direction Network

Designed In:


Using a ‘human-centred’ design approach FDN has developed numerous programs and service offerings to help students from South-West-Sydney (SWS) continue their education past high school.

With less than 5% of students from SWS continuing their studies past high-school we believed that enormous social value was being lost and decided to adopt a multi-stakeholder approach in order to address this challenge.

Understanding the journey of a high school student from SWS and their challenges has enabled the Future Direction Network team to develop programs that help raise student ambition, help support them to learn more about further study and most importantly help support them through their degrees.

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  • Students in SWS face the following challenges in continuing their education past high school: 1. Financial constraints; 2. Travel and logistical challenges; 3. Poor support networks; and 4. Lack of role models. Once a student finishes high school it can be expected in many cases that they find a job and contribute to the household budget. Living in SWS may also result in students commuting up to 3hours daily getting to and from university. These issues tend to make the transition to university incredibly challenging and can lead to students dropping out. If they do not have strong support networks and role models - it can be hard for these students to find the energy and determination to finish.

  • Parents have a huge influence on whether their child continues their education past high school. Many SWS parents hold limited knowledge about university study. University of Sydney (USYD) run an annual information evening for parents each year at their city campus, attracting 650ppl. We learnt that most of the parents who attend come from the affluent areas of Sydney and not SWS. We hypothesised that the following factors prevented SWS parent attendance: 1. Information night start time of 630pm; 2. Parents from SWS would have only just be arrived home from work; 3. That they needed to prepare dinner for the family; and 4. Then travel up to 1 hour to USYD. Solution: 1. Relocate to central SWS venue

  • Students in SWS are disadvantaged by a lack of identifiable role models. Firstly, we developed a guest speakers program where people from SWS who had gone on and studied at university and then started their career would come out to schools and tell their life story in a structured way. They would talk about their background in order to draw an immediate connection to the students, provide some advice on how they reached their goals and then talk about the opportunities that further education has afforded them. We soon realised that organising busy people to take time off work was logistically challenging and then decided to produce a DVD of numerous success stories from SWS to send out to all SWSschools

  • Imagine that you are a student living in Campbelltown or Bankstown or Liverpool and that you would like to attend a university open day at one of the city based campuses. For many students travelling into the city on their own can be quite daunting and challenging. They may need to catch a bus, then a train and then another bus and/or then walk through unfamiliar surroundings. We saw this as a huge challenge for the majority of SWS students who wished to attend university open days and decided to provide free transport to them in order for them to be able to feel safe and secure in attending city based university open days.

    To execute our programs, in particular, the scholarship program we needed to raise significant capital. Instead of asking donors to make large one off contributions we asked them to make smaller multi-year commitments. We believed that this would be a much easier option for donors as they would most likely already be supporting a number of other charitable pursuits and that asking for a large amount would either result in a definite NO or funds being taken away from another charity and redeployed to FDN. Instead of asking for a one off $50k payment - we felt that asking donors for $5k/pa for 10years would be much more feasible and achievable. Adopting a 'user-centred' design approach has helped FDN raise $1m