Old dogs teach students new tricks

Inspiring the Future seeks volunteers to mentor school students

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SHARING IS CARING:Norm Kitto is using his life experience to help mentor school students through the Inspiring the Future initiative.

SHARING IS CARING:Norm Kitto is using his life experience to help mentor school students through the Inspiring the Future initiative.


As little as an hour a year could help students find their future pathways.


SPRINGWOOD’S Norm Kitto worked in a lot of different fields during a long and successful working life and is happy to be able to share what he has learned with the younger generation.

Norm was manager of the Cleanaway depot in Katoomba when he retired in 2017, but throughout his working life he also drove buses, worked as a bank supervisor and owned his own service station.

For the past three years he has volunteered with Inspiring the Future Australia (ITF)  – a program which connects volunteers with primary and high schools so they can mentor students in a range of areas.

Since learning about the program through his wife Cheryl, who works at the Schools Industry Partnership, he has spent one day each year helping out with Cranebrook High School’s Deadly Maths program.

The program helps year six students, including Indigenous students acclimatise to the world of high school mathematics by engaging them with mentors who help them work through maths problems.

“It’s really something to give them encouragement. To see kids when the penny drops, that’s quite good,” he said.

Norm and Cheryl are also involved in numerous youth programs through Rotary and he encouraged anyone who felt they may have useful knowledge or skill sets to volunteer for the program.

ITF director Adrian Rhodes said the national program was interested in volunteers with any kind of workplace experience- from apprentices to chief executives.

He said volunteers were wanted to give talks about jobs and employment pathways, but public speaking was not a necessity as they were also needed to take part in informal discussions with smaller groups of students.

Other activities carried out by volunteers included providing resume experience and practice with job interviews, taking part in career fairs and providing various forms of educational support.

He said ITF was also working to challenge gender stereotypes in the workplace and was particularly interested in hearing from women who could inspire young girls to follow career paths that challenged tradition and convention.

People can volunteer by signing up on a secure web platform and filling out a brief online profile.

Profiles are then shared with teachers via a secure platform that does not involve exchanging contact details – teachers receive profile information and if they are interested in a profile, they contact the volunteer via the service.

Volunteers can choose which regions they want to volunteer in, which activities they are interested in taking part in and which invitations from teachers they would like to accept.

Volunteers who are willing to provide as little as one hour per year are of use to the program, while some choose to accept multiple invitations and spend more volunteering time.

ITF began six years ago in the UK and was launched by the NSW state government in 2017.  

Click here to volunteer, or call 0437-176-689 or email for more information.