Like the rest of the world, students in Australia and New Zealand have been hard hit by coronavirus restrictions. It’s been particularly difficult for international students who have sustained significant mobility limitations, leaving them in an isolated and demoralized state.
But it’s not all bad. Those with a shared mission of prioritising student needs have been working diligently to restore hope and provide new opportunities.
One organisation has been delivering a unique grassroots approach that is kickstarting change in communities around the world.
Mark Pettitt has spent his career in international education, in part as Director of Marketing and Admissions at RMIT University in Melbourne. In the last 5 years he’s developed and founded Edified—a team of education experts who work with both education providers and services.
“Everything we do is focused on the student, you get the best results when you think like that,” Mark said, as he discussed how Edified was first created. There are many very real problems facing students today and by bringing service providers and universities together in a results-oriented environment, you can start to solve those problems.
But how can you go one step further? How can you solve the long-term problems facing students around the world, rather than just the problems on your doorstep?
Grants for change
Edified is a great example of a business that has made this step, introducing their ‘Energiser Grants’ to fund student-led projects that help improve global education. Mark explained, “Our team is motivated by the impact that they have, and the energiser grants were born out of trying to create an outlet for that passion,” giving the team a reason to feel proud when they turn up to work each day.
These grants aren’t simply charitable donations, they work almost like startup investments—with Edified putting the money in & letting that ‘return’ on investment go back into the world. The grants give students with ideas a catalyst to take their skills and resources and create the biggest impact possible.
Whilst there are themes that the grants should fall into, the scope is pretty limitless—the projects could help any community, no matter what scale, with the ultimate end goal of improving education. With nearly 100 student applicants last year, it’s becoming an increasingly competitive process.
“It’s heartbreaking to see so many great ideas and know that only three will win the funding,” shared Mark, “but fantastic nonetheless to see the creativity that goes into each proposal.”