27 Sep 2022
How to make an outreach program that lasts forever
How to make an outreach program that lasts forever

It’s been a challenging couple of years for the Australian teaching community. We’ve been amazed how they have rallied to support students and parents/carers during unprecedented challenges and changes.

And they have continued to deliver quality teaching as 2022 saw students return to the classroom and some semblance of normality.

Primary has been working with teachers for over 18 years –developing, managing, and growing Electricity Safety Week (ESW) each year on behalf of Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy in NSW and Energy Queensland across QLD.

The program is designed in collaboration with education stakeholders and teachers, with the aim of helping primary school-aged students learn about how electricity works and how to stay safe around electrical equipment.

This year over 98% of primary schools across QLD and 96% across NSW received a free resource pack with a K-6 Lesson book, student prizes, a simple circuit kit and posters to help provide hands on resources to raise awareness of the hazards associated with electricity.

There are many unique aspects to developing and maintaining high engagement for a program such as Electricity Safety Week each year.

The key is to continue to consult and engage with the teaching community. More than that, for a program of such scale to withstand the test of time (and a pandemic), here are some tips we have picked up on the way:

  1. Change is hardly ever a bad thing – challenges and roadblocks often result in innovation and improvement; the old adage is true – necessity (with a sprinkle of creativity) is the mother of invention.
  2. Evaluation is not essential, it is critical – ongoing research and feedback from stakeholders and your target audiences will inform how the program can improve, helping you build on solid foundations, year on year. Our annual teacher surveys are a goldmine, helping refine objectives, and approach.
  3. Flexibility desirable – the ability to consider what may be potentially required and building in contingency plans, means that regardless of the curveballs, the approach is supported with a methodology safety net. Quick thinking in 2020 and 2021 saw the volunteer school visits, a very loved part of ESW, move to an online format.

We are looking forward to continuing to work with the teaching community for the rest of this year, in 2023 and beyond. The Australian education landscape is changing and with curriculum reform on the horizon, there is so much to be excited about!

It is also important to recognise those working behind the scenes in various education and curriculum authorities, who are involved in developing resources, training and other support measures for schools.

Also, a reminder from your friendly PR, communication and creative agency, don’t forget it’s World Teachers Day on 28 October. If you know a teacher or if you are one, take the opportunity to celebrate the hard work and dedication of all teachers including student teachers, teacher aides and retired educators.

The photos show what students learned through the ESW campaign.

Mary-Anne Boustany is Senior Account Director with Primary Communication and together with Paris Fittler, Account Executive, ran this year’s Electricity Safety Week program.