Since the award-winning FastTracking the Future education program was launched in March 2014, more than 12,650 students have taken part.
The popular school holiday programs have been run in the North West since 2014 and are consistently full.
The program’s resources were created in conjunction with teachers and educators and were written with links to current syllabuses. It’s modelled on other similar education programs, including for the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme.
The Primary and Secondary resources are freely available via the Sydney Metro website to any school in Australia and have more than 130 classroom-ready lessons for teachers for years K-10.
The education program allows teachers to use a major infrastructure project in their own backyard as a real life teaching tool which students are able to easily relate to.
An Education Reference Group was set up to monitor the development of this resource to ensure that it aligned with school curriculum requirements and would meet teachers’ needs and students’ interests.
Teacher representatives from public, independent and Catholic schools along the Sydney Metro Northwest alignment reviewed the program.
The two-volume resource is more than 480 pages long and covers Australia’s biggest public transport project not just from an engineering and construction perspective but also from its impact on the community.
As a teaching resource, it encourages students to use independent thought and come to their own conclusions about the project.
One section explains how the community consultation and Environmental Impact Statement process works and how students can use these processes in their lives to have their say on what affects them in their community – not just the new metro.
The resources are an additional tool teachers can use in the classroom.
FastTracking the Future won the Planning Institute of Australia (NSW) Promotion of Planning Award in November 2014.
Judges said the education program is an: “innovative and important initiative developed specifically for school aged children to engage directly with Australia’s biggest public transport project.
“It ensures that school children have a unique opportunity to participate in the delivery of a major infrastructure project, which will also change their built environment and impact their lives now and into the future.
“The judges believe that this is an excellent model for using an idea or project to implant an interest in children’s minds about planning and what infrastructure means for a city. Hopefully this will lead to many young people from Sydney’s north west considering planning as a career option!”
As at October 9, 2019, 53 presentations have been attended by 3,602 students; 23 school excursions have been attended by 2,711 students.
Media reporting of the cost of the project has been inaccurate. Since July 1, 2014, the program has cost $338,596 (as at June 30, 2017. 2014-15: $50,305; 2015-16: $134,095; 2016-17: 154,195).