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‘Ready’ to be a volunteer mentor?

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THE Project Ready student support program is looking to expand in 2023 and is calling for new volunteer mentors to help students with the challenges of growing up and making important life decisions.

First developed in 2017 by Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Network to support students who were disengaging from mainstream education, Project Ready is a full-year work readiness and personal development program that has since grown to meet the needs of a wide range of students, including those undertaking the Vocational Major and Victorian Pathways Certificate.

With assistance from the State Government’s Emerging Stronger Volunteer Grants program, Project Ready is looking to recruit mentors who can provide guidance, support and encouragement to young people as they grow up and make decisions about their education and future careers.

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Project Ready program creator Lena Way said it was important to have dedicated mentors who would help students as they continued to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s more important now than ever that we, as a community, support young people to connect with their community and build work readiness skills,” she said.

“Young people are still facing the ongoing impact of COVID-19, which disrupted their education and social lives, limiting their access to essential resources and support systems.”

Volunteer mentors will work to support young people as they take on a range of training, work placements, community projects, career planning and personal development opportunities to help prepare them for life beyond school.

Ms Way said there would be many benefits for both students and volunteer mentors.

“Our volunteers find the work fulfilling and rewarding,” she said.

“Volunteering as a mentor is a great opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of young people, while also building your own community connections and skill sets.”

Project Ready head of training and wellbeing support Janoel Liddy said the program provided an opportunity for people to learn new skills in a supportive environment.

“If you’re looking for experience working with young people, we are the ideal place to support your professional development,” she said.

“All sessions are facilitated by an experienced educator in an evidence-based collaborative program. We also have a lot of fun.”

Project Ready groups are usually comprised of nine to 20 students from years 10 to 12.

Sessions are once a week from 9.30am to 3.30pm at locations in Broadford, Seymour, Wallan, Yea, and Gisborne.

To express interest in becoming a volunteer mentor, people can contact Ms Liddy by emailing

For more information about Project Ready, visit

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