How to successfully engage Alumni with current students
Inspired by Yarra

Alumni of Yarra Valley Grammar, established in 1966, are known as Yarra Old Grammarians (YOG). The YOG Association inspires Yarra’s past and present communities with the opportunity to connect, benefit and contribute. Two newly introduced initiatives that are proving truly inspirational, to students and alumni alike, are the YOG Speed Careering event and the Inspired by Yarra podcast series. Both involve YOGs sharing their stories with students and community members in an engaging way.

YOG Speed Careering

Yarra Old Grammarians hold a myriad of positions within the world of work and each has their own unique journey and story of how they got to where they are today. This real world experience, and the advice they can impart, is invaluable to our students as they navigate the often tricky challenge of subject choices and career pathway options. Each year ahead of subject selection deadlines, we invite approximately 30 YOGs back to Yarra to talk to our Year 10 and 12 students. This gives the YOGs the opportunity to share their career journeys, as well as general career advice.
The selected YOGs cover a vast array of professions and careers, including law, architecture, entrepreneurship, the police force, engineering, veterinary, teaching, IT, hairdressing, accountancy, hospitality, graphic design and medicine.
The students are presented 

with a list of the YOGs ahead of the day and they are matched as best they can be, to YOGs in their desired fields. On the day, there are approximately six students in each group and the groups change every ten minutes, with each student meeting with five different YOGs across the morning. These informal and honest chats give students the opportunity to ask about journeys since Yarra and any specific questions about their industry or field of expertise.

This event inspires both the students and the YOGs, and has proven to be an excellent alumni engagement initiative. I find it really rewarding being able to pass my learnings and experiences onto the next generation. It’s great to be able to speak with the students, as I remember being in that same position, either not knowing what the right subjects were or where they would eventually take me. I think it’s a great program that the YOG Association runs for the students, giving them the opportunity to talk with professionals from such a broad range of industries and experiences. Wish I had that when I was in high school.”

Jonathon Adam (YOG 2006)

“It gave us insight into the reality that it’s ok to not be 100% certain about what you want to do, that you do find your path.”

Cass (YVG student)

“It was great to ask questions and get a better understanding of the day to day running of their positions and what they actually did to get into their course and profession.”

Justyn (YVG student)

Inspired by Yarra Podcast
Andy Griffiths (YOG 1979)- Award Winning Australian Children’s Author.

Inspired by Yarra is a podcast series of conversations with Yarra Old Grammarians who recall funny, compelling, informative and inspiring stories from their time at Yarra and beyond. Hosted by our School Chaplain Rev. Paul Joy, guests share some of their fondest memories of Yarra and how their time here has helped establish and shape their lives, their families and their careers to date. 

The interviews are recorded in person using a simple digital recorder, or over the Internet on Zoom.us. To maximise sound quality, we have also started to post portable recorders to our remote guests for use during their interview. These are then posted back to us, or onto the next YOG. We have a very talented YOG sound engineer who edits the recordings and a writer who listens to the conversation and writes us a one-page summary that we use as show notes.

A new episode is released on our website every fortnight on a Tuesday and is uploaded to Anchor.fm. Through Anchor, our podcast is available on Apple Podcast (iTunes), Google Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify and many other podcast platforms. We encourage our community to subscribe to the podcast in their preferred podcast player and it has proven very popular, with approximately 6,800 downloads in its first year.

 


Author Rosie Brown  Director of Development, Yarra Valley Grammar

As a passionate leader, with a participatory style of leadership, I use clear goals and my infectious enthusiasm to articulate an explicit vision that motivates and inspires staff (and volunteers) to create highly effective teams. I have exceptional communication skills and am experienced in reporting to Boards and executives on finances and business KPIs. As Director of Development, I develop and maintain key stakeholder relationships within our School community. I help facilitate and encourage financial support for the School.