Geelong Youth Award, Travis

Travis has a long history of involvement in his community, despite his significant commitments at medical school. This Geelong youth’s passion for education is something well known to all of those around him. He has worked on the Melbourne University Health Initiative’s SWOT team—a team of volunteer tutors from Universities in Victoria devoted to tackling disadvantage in education.

Travis Youth Award

Now in his fifth year at SWOT, Travis initially started by overhauling the Biology programme, bringing SWOT to a new, high standard. As coordinator, he directed a team of tutors and lectured Biology to students from all over Victoria who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Travis brought the SWOT masterclasses to Geelong, initially working with Western Heights and Matthew Flinders to have tutors run revision tutorials with their students each term. It took a lot to convince his fellow team members from Melbourne to make the trek to Geelong, but Travis’ commitment to his old school and to his community won out, with the programme still having an engagement in Geelong today.

As human resources manager, he has overhauled the recruitment policy, ensuring that tutors who join the programme are committed to combatting educational disadvantage. He’s led a push ensuring that SWOT reaches the disadvantaged students from communities that need it most. This includes students from Geelong who are involved in the programmes each year. As a leader, his ability to bring others along with his ideas and to make members feel as excited as he is about his work is unsurpassed.

Travis’ drive to combat educational disadvantage has seen him devote his summers to a similar programme, the VCE Summer School (VCESS). VCESS is a two week VCE intensive summer school aimed at students who have experienced disadvantage. Starting there as a tutor, Travis has risen through the ranks to his current position as Head of the Teaching Support Office (TSO).

In this role, Travis has completely overhauled the TSO team, taking it from a little-known irrelevance to a critical component in the success at VCESS. The TSOs are responsible for the training of nearly 200 tutors who work in the programme each year, they also provide intensive support during the programme to tutors. To this end, the TSOs ensure that VCESS classes continue to reach high standards, and that, critically, disadvantaged students get the most out of the programme. Notably, Travis—the leader of the team—is the only one who does not have a degree in teaching.

Beyond education, Travis has made many other significant contributions to his community. For example, he was a founding member of the Lara and Little River Rural Action Group, which successfully campaigned against the Lara Intermodal hub.

We congratulate Travis for winning the Geelong Youth Award in Leadership. What an inspiration!

Story sourced by Jacqui Bennett. Photo: Supplied.