• We’re excited to announce that Hands on Learning Australia (HoLA) and Save the Children are joining forces to make it possible for more young Australians to stay connected to school and improve their educational and life outcomes.

    We’re excited to announce that Hands on Learning Australia (HoLA) and Save the Children are joining forces to make it possible for more young Australians to stay connected to school and improve their educational and life outcomes. HoLA and Save the Children share a bold vision – that all young people at risk of disengaging from school will have a genuine opportunity to receive and learn from a quality basic education.

    The merger, taking effect from 1st April 2017, brings together HoLA’s long-term ambition to prevent early school leaving and Save the Children’s vision of a world in which every child attains the right to a quality basic education. To date, HoLA has successfully partnered with over 65 Victorian schools. And, through an innovative education program that caters to the different ways young people learn, it has helped in excess of 7,500 disengaged young people stay at school.

    With the support of Save the Children – which operates in over 200 sites across Australia working to ensure children and young people are protected from harm and can access quality health and education services – we can expand the program’s footprint in Victoria and to other states and territories. Together we can provide greater student access to the HoLA method.

    Together, we can broaden our reach and achieve more for disadvantaged young people than we could possibly achieve by working alone. As one organisation, we will not only obtain our common goal, but we will leverage our joint expertise and our local knowledge to continually improve the evidence base and practice models for our education and youth programs. Together we will drive innovation in the sector, create efficiencies and improve educational outcomes.

    We will advocate at all levels of government, and argue for reforms to the funding and incentive structures that shape the mainstream education system. Disadvantaged kids deserve our support to stay in school and to succeed in that environment. But too often, schools aren’t adequately equipped to support this cohort. The existing structure marginalises these young people and deprives them of fundamental – and enabling – educational opportunities.

    The funding landscape in Australia is changing. There’s less money to go around. People are donating less, and governments are responding to hard fiscal times with funding cuts. As a consequence, the not-for-profit sector needs to consider new and more sustainable approaches to how we best serve communities in need. In sharing our expertise, knowledge and resources – and by working together – we can do so much more than if we are competing with each other for an ever-decreasing piece of the funding pie.

    Improving our combined ability to attract funding in the future will mean more children and young people have access to education, and a better opportunity to shape their life outcomes. This merger meets the need to mobilise and grow to be more effective. It’s not just about more programs; it’s about realising our efficiencies to maximise outcomes for children and young people.

    This merger creates a unique opportunity to realise a bold new vision and long-term strategy, based on the work of both Save the Children and HoLA. Through collaboration, we can tap into the best of both organisations to improve the way we work. We can leverage our combined strength to really drive change and innovation in the Australian education sector.