The LEAP Program aims to demystify the links between school, university and professions.
LEAP seeks to encourage secondary students from low SES communities to consider higher education as a future option through a focus on the professions. By offering access to a range of university campus, workplace and school-based activities along with online resources, LEAP aims to help students learn more about their career options in selected professions, and the role of university study in attaining their career goals. Engineering, Health, Design, Law and Science professions are the first five with other professional fields being added over time.
In 2010 the eight Victorian Universities, the Victorian campuses of Australian Catholic University, and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria and Independent Schools Victoria formed a group and established a multilateral partnership agreement to support participation of students from low SES backgrounds in higher education.
The idea for the LEAP program was developed by this group and became a successful grant winner through the Commonwealth Government's Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP), receiving funds to establish the program in Victoria.
LEAP Program partnership
LEAP is a collaborative Victorian initiative focused on priority schools Victoria-wide. The Program partners are committed to the development and delivery of the Program with long term sustainability.
LEAP organisational structure
The LEAP program is overseen by a Steering Committee comprising representatives from each partner organisation.
The activities and content for each LEAP professional area have been developed by small project teams of specialists from the partner universities. These project teams are also supported by an Advisory Group comprising teacher, professionals, industry representatives and university students.
LEAP has been established to encourage more students from low SES communities to see the value and importance of Higher Education. To achieve this approximately 278 state, catholic and independent priority schools have been identified based on the criteria that their Index of Community Socio Economic Advantage (ICSEA) is a value of 1000 or less (recorded in 2011, 2012 or 2013). Where demand is high, priority for participation will be given to those LEAP schools with a higher percentage of students in the bottom quartile based on student background.
The LEAP activities developed by each project team aim to:
- Be sequential, addressing the two key activity foci (Understanding Professions, and Making it Happen) within each project.
- Allow students to progress through a hierarchy of activities as part of a Learner Progression Framework.
- Identify and communicate where entry and progression is linked to university study.
All LEAP activities are provided free of charge to LEAP priority schools.
Where travel may be a barrier to participation, LEAP has some funds available to support schools and individual students. How to apply for travel support