Video: Supporting refugee students to prepare for life after school

In a new video for Teacher, Executive Director of Schools in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta, New South Wales, Greg Whitby, sits down with educator Melinda Bowd to discuss her involvement in a Refugee Student Mentoring Program.

The program works with South Sudanese refugee students in Year 12 to set them up for life after school, by partnering them with mentors who can assist them with practical things, like setting up a Tax File Number and obtaining driver’s licenses.

‘So as a school it’s our responsibility, I think, to really ensure that we’re facilitating success for all of our young people,’ Bowd shares in the video.

The cohort of students involved in the program last year are all still in touch with their mentors, and are all involved in either study or work. ‘So that’s how you actually break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage for this group who deserve to be able to succeed,’ Bowd says.

Bowd was a part of this work during her time as Assistant Principal at Emmaus College, but this year she started work as Leader of Wellbeing at St Luke's Catholic College Marsden Park. In the video, she shares the impact her involvement in the Refugee Student Mentoring Program has had on her work as an educator, and in her new role now.

‘I think all wellbeing work can be – it’s hard when you look at the kids you care about and you know that their lives are really complex, but these problems that they have are not ours to solve,’ she shares. ‘But what we can do is look at the strengths and the things that are within our power to change and what I’ve come to realise is there are so many things that we can do and that’s the most important work, I think.’


As a senior secondary teacher, consider the support your school community provides to students to assist them with the transition to life after school.

What are you already doing well? Where can you improve? How could partnering with an external organisation be beneficial for students?