Like the rural and regional communities who inspire us, CEF’S alumni are a diverse lot. From teachers and engineers to entrepreneurs and CEOs, you all have one thing in common: a sense of pride in rising to the challenge of further education and training.
Hundreds of you filled in our online survey, which gave us a fascinating insight into who our alumni family is and what makes you tick. For example, some 92% of you have completed your course of study or are still studying, and 94% of you have either already found employment in your chosen field or are on track to do so.
Perhaps the most encouraging feedback was the strength of your appreciation for the help CEF has provided. Almost every single one of you (99%) told us that CEF assistance was either very important, moderately important or important in helping you achieve your education or career aspirations. Gratifyingly, 70% of you ticked the ‘very important’ box and 28% of you took the time to add a comment expressing your appreciation of the hard work of our local volunteer CEF committees.
Graduate nurse Ngaire Parkyn (Monaro, 2010), wrote: “CEF was a fantastic help, allowing me to not only to complete my degree but set me up with crucial equipment for my first year as a registered nurse. Still to this day I use the stethoscope that I purchased with help of CEF, and every time I use it, I’m grateful for your help and support.”
Many of you also articulated a strong desire to give back.
Bridgett Martin (Braidwood, 2011-12), a Bachelor of Science/Psychology graduate, said: “To know I had others investing in my education was a key driver of my success at university. I am extremely grateful for the grants I received and one day hope to give back to the organisation to provide future generations with the opportunities I was afforded.”
As an organisation whose sole aim is to see more regional, rural and remote students achieve their education and training goals, this is so encouraging.
One of the central reasons for embarking on this alumni project was simply to reconnect. Many of you are from remote areas, where the sense of community and wanting to give back is particularly strong.
“After completing my degree in education, I joined the CEF of Central Australia and have begun giving back to my local community,” said Emma Forrester (Central Australia, 2012). “I want to thank the CEF for all of their ongoing support, and for providing me with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people in Central Australia both as an educator and as a CEF member.”
Another reason for reconnecting was to let you know we are working on a range of alumni benefits that will assist you in your working life.
We wanted to ask you what services you wanted. You told us that professional guidance and networking were the most appealing, with more than a third of you (36%) saying you’d be interested in mentoring opportunities. Almost a quarter of you (23%) said you’d be interested in activities that would boost your professional network.
You also expressed interest in an awards program to celebrate the incredible achievements of CEF’s graduates. Some 17% of you supported the launch of an annual CEF Alumni Awards event.
We are committed over the next few months to making a reality as many of these ideas as possible. Keep an eye out for more details in our next newsletter that will come later in the year.
The CEF Team