Advance is a fantastic school-based program that encourages you to get actively involved in your local community.

AdvanceIf you are in Years 7 to 12 at a Victorian Government secondary school, you can get involved in the Advance program and have the chance to develop your leadership skills while having fun.

What Sort of Community Activities Will I Do?

There's a whole range of activities young people are doing with heaps of different community organisations. There are heaps of programs for you to choose from. For example, you can:

  • Participate in a conservation program
  • Get involved with the emergency services
  • Help your local Surf Life Saving association
  • Help the Red Cross
  • Undertake animal welfare projects
  • Run a community radio program
  • Conducting sports clinics for primary school students

Is My School Involved?

To see what schools are involved, visit the Advance (new window) page on the Department of Health and Human Services website. If your school is not involved, speak to a teacher, co-ordinator or school counsellor and ask them to look at the program. It's not a competition to get a grant for your school or anything like that - any government school can become involved!

If your school is not involved and you'd like to become a part of the program, tell your teacher about it today.

How Will Advance Benefit Me?

Hopefully, by participating in this program:

  • You will develop skills to participate in your community
  • You will be engaged in community activities
  • Communities will support your engagement and participation and
  • You will have something great to add to your resume or uni or TAFE application!

To find out more on how Advance can benefit you, read some case studies of Advance in action (new window) and read on to see what other young people have been doing in their community and how it has had a positive effect on their life.

If you have questions or want more information about the Advance program, email:

What Some Schools Have Done As Part of Advance

There's heaps of different things that schools have done as part of their Advance program. Here's just a sample:

Birchip P-12 School

Students who participated in Advance obtained a First Aid Certificate, participated in the Mallee Regional Sports Assembly Active Youth Program and undertook tree planting with the Mallee Catchment Authority. Students also organised a mental health forum for Birchip, an eight kilometre community walk to promote physical activity and raised funds for mental health. They contributed to the renovation of the local railway station garden and a garden at the Birchip Cropping Group and painted a colourful mural on the wall of the local supermarket. The group projects were initiated, planned and conducted by the students.

Through Advance, students developed and applied a range of life skills, including communication, problem solving, organisation, negotiation and teamwork. These skills were regularly reflected upon by students to ensure students developed these skills as an important part of their all-round progress. The formal Level 2 First Aid training was delivered over two days as part of a week long program where students were removed from their formal learning environment. As well as the first aid qualification, students were introduced to the concept of community engagement, volunteering, teamwork and other key skills they would apply over the course of the community engagement programs.

Projects were celebrated and documented thorough the Birchip P-12 School newsletter as well as local media outlets. Students were also publicly thanked by the CEO of the East Wimmera Health Service for the Mental Health Forum and congratulated by Birchip Landcare and the Publicity and Promotions Manager of the Birchip Cropping Croup for their environmental projects. The Coordinator of Community Facilities for the Buloke Shire congratulated students for their fundraising efforts via the community walk. All students were also recognised for their initiatives by the Birchip P-12 School Principal at school assemblies.

Nhill College

Students involved in the Advance Program at Nhill College undertook an inquiry based learning experience that allowed them to develop ideas and programs benefitting the wider Nhill Community. In developing their projects, students were guided by the aim of working within the parameters of 'Helping Nhill' and 'Promoting Nhill'. 

This saw students undertake a variety of initiatives, including completing Level 2 First Aid training. Students also delivered a bike recycling project. This involved old bikes being sourced from the community, refurbished and donated to people in need, with students required to interact with various community members to organise the distribution of bikes.

A pallet furniture project saw students source pallets from local business to use to make furniture. The furniture was subsequently sold to members of the local community and the money raised used to fund a cricket equipment project. The cricket equipment project involved the purchase of cricket equipment for the purpose of donating this equipment to the local Karen community to give them the opportunity to take up the sport. This project required student interaction with various external stakeholders, including Cricket Victoria.

A Nhill business showcase was also undertaken. This involved a number of students organising a business showcase that involved local businesses visiting the College and presenting to students about locally based career pathways. This was a huge task for students to organise, however, benefitted both the students and businesses, as students are now far more aware of local job opportunities. It is hoped that this will assist in managing the declining population of the town resulting from young people leaving to seek work elsewhere.

Finally, students conducted fundraising to adopt animals at Halls Gap Zoo, with enough money raised to adopt three animals.

Keilor Downs College

Students at Keilor Downs College undertook a variety of activities through Advance.

This included First Aid training completed through Life Saving Victoria where students were taught skills such as CPR and bandage dressing. Students also undertook a work readiness program through a partnership with the Beacon Foundation. This highly interactive program addressed work ethic, branding, grooming, employers' expectations, mock interviews, manners and etiquette.

A SCOPE Bronze Certificate was also undertaken that saw students complete learning modules in understanding disability and diversity, communicating successfully with others and understanding disability in the workplace as well as a day of volunteering. Students also completed StartSmart - a financial literacy program of the Commonwealth Bank that included topics such as earning an income, saving, spending and investing.

Driver education was also completed through METEC Driver Education. This included road safety and driving manual cars in a realistic road environment free of public traffic. School and community based projects were also undertaken, with students involved in researching options and the decision making process that enabled them to implement local and wider community change in areas they decided needed attention.

In addition, students completed two rounds of work placement with community employers and participated in two camps designed to develop trust, collaboration, cooperative group work and endurance.

Students were presented with certificates at the end of each component of the program and these were collated in a folder to assist students in making work placement applications as part of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) 2016. The students participated in a three day 102km end of year bike riding camp as a celebration to the end of the program. The final class showcased photos and videos of all the activities throughout the year. A student and staff BBQ was held on their final day of formal classes.

Croydon Special Developmental School

Students (aged 15-18 years) participated in a 'Pathways Program' designed to enable them to participate in a range of learning activities with a focus on exploring options and developing skills for post school programs as well as engaging with the local and wider school community.

Activities included volunteering as part of a small team in a 'Meals on Wheels' community program, work experience at two supported employment settings (Yarraview Nursery and NADRASCA Industry), travel education, as well as recreation activities including mini golf, basketball, swimming, ten pin bowling and bike riding. School-based opportunities included sensory programs such as grooming and music therapy facilitated by an external music therapist, swimming/spa and café programs.

School-based work experience was provided through the weekly canteen, café, newspaper delivery and office skills programs. These activities were developed throughout the year to meet the interests, needs and strengths of the students and as the school formed new partnerships with community organisations including an Aboriginal Cultural NAIDOC incursion.

Learning opportunities as part of the Advance program extended students skills by developing work ethic, understanding of OH&S requirements and the importance of completing a task. Students were also provided with opportunities to work with staff, other students, employees and placement supervisors, and learnt the importance of following instructions and working as a member of a team. This all helped build their confidence and leadership skills as they took responsibility working outside of the school environment, and interacting with unfamiliar people.

Core curriculum areas were covered through classroom and pathways programs. These opportunities extended student experiences both within and outside of the school environment. They have contributed to the organisations they have attended and actively engaged in the community.


Department of Human Services - Advance Schools Program
The Victorian Government's DHS website provides an overview of the Advance program.

Back to more youth programs.