Parramatta students take to business

Parramatta Marist High year 10 students Mark Raya, 14, and John Isaac, 15, with NAB work inspiration mentor Bernadette Demasi, a practice management and performance manager at MLC. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Parramatta Marist High year 10 students Mark Raya, 14, and John Isaac, 15, with NAB work inspiration mentor Bernadette Demasi, a practice management and performance manager at MLC. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Parramatta Marist High students Mark Raya and John Isaac developed confidence and knowledge of the banking sector during a work inspiration program at NAB’s Parramatta Business Centre last week.

Toongabbie Christian College and Arthur Phillip High School students also took part in the program which offered conversations with industry mentors, skills assesment, and an iMovie project on the topic of success.

‘‘On the first day they were focusing on us and our strengths and our interests and hobbies,’’ John said.

‘‘I found it helpful we were able to find ourselves in the program and not just learn about the bank.’’

Mark said the first activity had participants approach strangers to ask them questions about success or take photos of people and objects that represented different topics including smiles and success.

They had fun as they photographed a busker with his guitar and others, despite ‘‘heaps of rejections’’.

Bernadette Demasi volunteered to be a work inspiration mentor after remembering her own uncertainty when choosing a career direction in high school.

The practice management and performance manager at MLC entered the financial firm as a university graduate.

‘‘At NAB we have a whole internal portal dedicated to charities and volunteer programs we can get involved in,’’ she said.

‘‘I specifically looked for volunteer programs that would allow me to work with students, because I remember . . . thinking ‘How am I meant to make these decisions when there’s this big wide world out there?’

‘‘One of the key conversations I’ve been having with the guys is to really just be yourself, about the strength in communicating effectively with people, and that having solid drive matters just as much as what you’ve studied — and sometimes more so.’’

John said said he had taken more from the program than if it had been delivered as a classroom lesson.

‘‘You really learn about the workplace and about yourself more,’’ he said.

‘‘The relationship between you and the mentor or you and the facilitator is not like you and teacher.

‘‘We’re talking as though Bernadette is our older sister. You feel way more comfortable and at ease.’’

Read about funding cuts to the program here.

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