Local students learning for life with The Smith Family

Local students learning for life with The Smith Family

When The Smith Family launched their Learning for Life program in Gladstone in 2018, they had a target of working with 300 students within the first three years.

That target was passed within 18 months, and now, after three years, the program provides educational support to more than 600 local primary and high school students.

The Smith Family’s Family Partnerships Coordinator Carlie Busby works directly with local families to support the long-term education of students to help them stay in school and go on to further study or work.

“I’ve lived in Gladstone since I was a teenager, so I have seen it go through waves,” Carlie said.

“At one stage it was one of the predominant towns in Australia for making money, there were so many opportunities.

“Almost overnight it all wrapped up, and now so many of the people who experienced the highs are experiencing the lows.”

Thanks to financial support from Orica Yarwun, which has been extended to December 2022, the Learning for Life program provides financial assistance for education essentials such as uniforms and school supplies, access to out-of-school learning and mentoring programs and tailored personal support from a The Smith Family team member.

Carlie said the most rewarding part of her job was “seeing the effect that the Learning for Life program makes in our community”.

“Six hundred students wouldn’t have the opportunities they do now if The Smith Family wasn’t here,” she said.

“From my heart alone, Orica has done so much for this town, they’ve made such an impact.”

Orica Yarwun Site Manager Viney Kumar said Orica was “delighted to extend our initial three-year foundation support of The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program in Gladstone, for another two years”.

“The program is annually helping over 600 local Gladstone school students in need attend school, stay engaged and go on to further study, training or employment,” he said.

“At Orica, we believe in making a difference in the communities in which we operate.

“Thank you to The Smith Family, for creating this opportunity and the successful delivery so far.”

If your organisation is interested in becoming a Smith Family Corporate Partner reach out to company.enquiry@thesmithfamily.com.au.

Local organisations can get involved in several ways, including through The Smith Family’s Work Inspiration program which connects students to employers for two to three days so they can meet professional teams, learn about career journeys, and do career-related activities.

“It’s a really rewarding program that gives students the opportunity to experience the world of work first-hand in a meaningful and inspiring way,” Carlie said.

For more information on The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program visit www.thesmithfamily.com.au/programs/learning-for-life.


The Smith Family Facts

  • 1 in 6 Australian children are currently experiencing disadvantage.
  • The Smith Family currently supports over 58,000 students experiencing disadvantage across Australia through its Learning for Life Program.
  • The biggest pressures on families right not are financial, including housing affordability issues and a lack of suitable employment opportunities.
  • 72% of funds raised by The Smith Family is spent on programs. You can sponsor a child or make a donation via thesmithfamily.com.au.