Student leaders’ community contribution improving employability

May 9, 2017

(L-R): MSEL participants Nicole, Kashmirra, Vanessa and Locket with MSEL Support team member Amelia (Centre)

Helping disadvantaged students create better futures and addressing school bullying are just some of the important community programs Murdoch Student Emerging Leaders (MSEL) will tackle with leading Western Australian organisations.

MSEL is a development program for Murdoch students that focuses on leadership growth and giving back to the broader community. Since its foundation in 2014, the program has seen Murdoch students work in interdisciplinary teams to undertake significant projects, collaborating with 14 different local not-for-profit and community organisations across Perth.

MSEL Program Coordinator, Thomas Stewart, said the program is run through a unique partnership between the Murdoch University Guild of Students and the Murdoch Careers Centre.

“The Guild and the Careers Centre have worked closely together to construct a program which helps students realise their capabilities,” Stewart said.

“It is great to see students rise to the challenge to help these organisations and they prove themselves capable time and time again.”

In 2017, five-community organisation are involved in the MSEL program, including national children’s education charity, The Smith Family. Through their Learning for Life program, The Smith Family provides disadvantaged students with the tools they need to succeed at school and create a better future for themselves.

“Student’s from the MSEL program who are participating in the ‘Adopt a Learning Club’ initiative will have the opportunity to volunteer as tutors, in a group setting, to help disadvantaged children in one of our after school Learning Clubs,” said Ian Moore, WA General Manager for The Smith Family.

“We’re incredibly grateful of the generous support of Murdoch University and the MSEL participants, as volunteer tutors play a vital role in our Learning Clubs.

Learning Clubs provide a safe and supportive out-of-school learning environment where primary or secondary students can participate in activities that develop their academic skills. Clubs usually run for two school terms, and children attend once a week at no cost.

A recent survey showed Learning Clubs had a positive impact on academic engagement and behaviour, with 87 per cent of student participants saying they feel they’re doing better in class after participating, and 96 per cent of teachers commenting that Learning Clubs positively influence student participation in class.

While undertaking their project, the MSEL program provides students with hands-on workshop training, networking opportunities and access to industry expertise, which is leading to more work-ready Murdoch graduates finding work.

"The experience and confidence I gained as part of the MSEL gave me an edge when competing for clerkships and was crucial in helping me find the role I am in today,” said student Helen Barratt.

Chelsea Ahern also said the MSEL program equipped her with skills and experiences she could not develop in the classroom.

“I was able to better myself personally, boost my employability, and make a positive contribution to a community organisation striving for lasting change," Chelsea said.

The Rotary Club of Booragoon has supported the program since its inception, contributing $5000 each year, and Unibank has generously donated $3000 to help students in the delivery of their project.

The 2017 MSEL projects are:

Rotary of Attadale

The Rotary club of Attadale is looking a run job seeking skills workshops to enhance the employability of high school students in the local area with potential to expand and run the program for other interested schools. Students will design the workshop in collaboration with the club and look to establish relationships with schools.

Fremantle Foundation

The Fremantle Foundation combines interests of donors, with their knowledge of the community, to support important local issues. They provide philanthropic advice and administration to individuals, families and businesses who are interested in giving effectively in their community. Their project aims to achieve an accurate understanding of their current donors’ view of the Fremantle Foundation in order to drive further increases in giving in Fremantle and WA.

The Smith Family

The Smith Family primarily provides disadvantaged students with the tools they need to succeed in their education and create better futures for themselves. The project will promote and set up the “Adopt a Learning Club” initiative at Murdoch University.

Nardine Wimmins Refuge

The refuge provides supports and housing for victims of domestic abuse. Their project will create a Children's Policy & Procedure Manual for staff to use in order to provide top class service for their younger clients (babies/children/teens). The aim is to end up with a Policy & Procedure Manual that they can use with ease and share throughout their service and offer to other services if it's appropriate for them.

Telethon Kids Institute

This project builds upon the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded study "Beyond Bullying: Positive Change for All".  That larger study is testing the efficacy of motivational interviewing in working with perpetrators of school bullying.  As part of the study, we have conducted interviews with a number of school staff at both government and non-government secondary schools addressing how they respond to bullying by their students.


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Comments (One response)


Fantastic opportunity for our students to develop life skills and impact on our communities. The industry partners are crucial to building Murdoch's engagement and research capabilities.

Well done Thomas, support team members.

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