Macquarie Business Park Partnership:
Creating Community Change
The first of its kind in Australia, The Macquarie Business Park Partnership represents an innovative approach to overcoming community disadvantage.
It began when six Macquarie Park (Sydney) CEOs met with United Way Australia to discuss how they could play a meaningful role in creating lasting change locally.
The result? A collaboration between leading Australian companies to tackle the underlying causes of disadvantage in their community by contributing their resources and expertise to give local children and young people a better chance in life.
Breaking the cycle of disadvantage
Efforts are focused on the neighbouring suburb of Ryde, where most children start school without attending formal preschool care, and one third speak English as a second language.
Many of these children lack the skills and knowledge crucial for starting school ready to learn to read and help their children to keep up with their peers. They are much more likely to leave school early, without the education and experience needed to find stable employment. Almost 15% of 15-19 year-olds in Ryde are out of work – well above the NSW average.
The Macquarie Business Park Partnership responds to these challenges by investing in 2 key areas: early childhood development and the transition from school to work/further study.
A real return on investment
Early Childhood Development
The partnership is raising funds and supporting literacy events as part of United Way Australia’s Ready to Read program. More than 200 local children aged between 0-5 years old currently receive a quality book free each month, while their parents receive literacy support and resources.
Employees from the Macquarie Business Park have helped run local literacy events and activities. Initial evaluations show that children and parents are engaging in more reading activities, and teachers have reported increased levels of school preparedness as a result.
“It is such a special gift to us as a whole family… it’s amazing to see how his language l skills has evolved over the last year. The books selected are so age appropriate and they come with clear guides to help explain the books which we find it really helpful. We as parents also learn to bond with him through the shared reading.” Tracy, parent
“My daughter can’t wait to receive her book. She loves the surprise and re-reads it constantly.” Parent
“We know this is having an impact on early literacy levels. We see it in the children’s progress at school.”
Transition from school
To support local high school students from Marsden High School at risk of leaving school early, employees from the Macquarie Business Park provide real-life work experience opportunities and mentoring, helping reinforce the value of study for future career prospects, and of positive work experiences.
More than 230 students have already gained practical skills and connections with the local business community, greatly increasing their future work opportunities. Importantly, many students have also reported increased confidence and career ambitions as a result of the program.
“It has increased my confidence and also has given me a better understanding on what the working world is like after school.” Student
“That was THE most worthwhile thing I have done connected to work in the 32 years I have been working.” Volunteer
We are seeking new collaborations with businesses partners both in and outside the Macquarie Park area.
To discuss how your business can help create a brighter future for children and young people in your local area, please get in touch with Lyndsey McKee, Head of Partnerships, on (02) 9321 0300.
“We see this as a very exciting and worthwhile program to be a part of. We have a shared responsibility to guarantee that the children of the Macquarie Park area have the best possible start to life. It is important that we work together, to ensure that the future of Australia – our children – live happy, healthy and successful lives.” Gavin Fox-Smith | CEO, Johnson & Johnson Medical
Partners In change
United Way Australia would like to thank our Macquarie Business Park partners for their incredible contributions.