November 23rd 2017 at 6:56 am
University students have contributed more than 31,000 hours of community service in the first two years of the McCusker Centre for Citizenship at UWA's internship program, which is changing lives and busting stereotypes in WA.
The McCusker Centre for Citizenship at UWA – the first centre of its kind in Australia – aims to inspire young people to become actively engaged citizens and lifelong contributors to local, regional and global communities.
In just two years, the McCusker Centre for Citizenship has placed more than 350 students with 250 not-for-profit, community and government organisations to undertake hands-on community work in areas such as homelessness, Indigenous health and mental health.
Director Michelle Scott says the rapid take-up of the Centre’s internships reflects a great appetite among WA millennials to enrich their education and personal growth through ‘giving back’.
“Our interns are representative of a cohort of young people who want to make a difference in their community – and to the world,” Scott says. “The widely held perception that young people today are somehow lazy and driven by self-interest is being debunked by the early success of the McCusker Centre for Citizenship.
“Recent research shows millennials want their work to have purpose and to contribute to a bigger picture. They are driven by causes and values and most would choose working within their area of passion over a pay rise.
“The McCusker Centre for Citizenship addresses this desire in a way no other Australian university has before – by giving students the opportunity to make a difference as part of their degrees.
“They have the opportunity to learn about some of the challenges in our community by working alongside organisations dedicated to addressing these issues before they graduate.
“For some, this exposure to issues such as homelessness, mental health, the disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal people and poverty has proven to be life-changing.”
The McCusker Centre was established in 2015 thanks to a generous donation from the McCusker Charitable Foundation.