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. Business, Design, Engineering, Health, Law and Science are the six professional fields covered.
In 2010 the eight Victorian Universities, the Victorian campuses of Australian Catholic University, and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (now DET), 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. The grant period was from 2012 - December 2015.
LEAP Program partnership - 2016
LEAP continues to operate as a collaborative initiative focused on priority schools Victoria-wide. The Victorian Universities which are Program partners are committed to the ongoing delivery of the Program with the goal of long term sustainability.
LEAP organisational structure
The LEAP program is overseen by a Steering Committee comprising representatives from each partner organisation.
The activities and the web content for each LEAP professional area have been developed by small project teams of specialists from the original partner universities. Those project teams in turn, were each supported by an Advisory Group comprising teachers, professionals, industry representatives and university students.
When LEAP was established, approximately 278 State, Catholic and independent schools were identified, based on the criteria that their Index of Community Socio Economic Advantage (ICSEA) was a value of 1000 or less (recorded in 2011, 2012 or 2013). Where demand for activities was high, priority for participation was given to the schools with a higher percentage of students in the bottom quartile based on student background.
2016 LEAP Priority Schools
To maintain an equitable approach, for the 2016 school year a similar criteria will be applied, using the latest ICSEA values available (2014). This means that while many of the original LEAP priority Schools will remain eligible to access LEAP activities free of charge, some new schools may be added to the priority list while some other schools will no longer be listed.
The LEAP activities developed for each profession:
- Are sequential, addressing our two key activity foci (Understanding Professions, and Making it Happen) within each profession area.
- Are designed to 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