Carole Burrell’s story

After 40 years of teaching, Carole Burrell knows a good result when she sees one.

She is understandably proud of a much-improved retention rate for her Year 12 students at Doonside Technology High School in Blacktown Sydney, where she is Careers Advisor for Years 10, 11 and 12 and the Beacon Program coordinator.

“I’ve been teaching for 40 years, the last nine at Doonside and there is nothing else like the Beacon program in giving opportunities to students and changing the culture of the local community into thinking that getting a job is a real possibility.”

Carole Burrell, Teacher, Doonside Technology High School.


The school’s retention rate jumped from 29.7 per cent in 2009 to 53.4 per cent in 2010. Carole believes Beacon played an important role in this success.

‘Having worked with the Year 12 students for the three years of the Beacon program, we have been able to impart to them all the ideology of investigating jobs, having career goals, remaining at school and going on to further education – and it’s coming to fruition with 2011’s Year 12 students., Carole says.

Last year 84 students completed their HSC at Doonside, up from just 50 the previous year. Of these, only three are looking for work: 24 have won a place at university, up from seven the year before; 30 are attending TAFE or college full time, three times the year before; and 15 are in full time work. This bodes well for students in a region with one of the highest youth unemployment rates in New South Wales, at around 25 per cent.