Deakin Engagement and Access Program

We believe that university should be an opportunity available to everyone.

Our team work with students to build aspiration and instil confidence to support them in decision-making about their future, breaking down the socioeconomic barriers around access to education.

Our impact

Deakin Engagement and Access Program (DEAP) strives to make a lasting impact on school students. Our focus is on building a student experience that empowers students to reach their full potential – with 73% of teachers reporting our programs encourage more students to stay at school and to finish Year 12^.

The student journey is at the core of what we do. We engage with schools throughout Years 9–12 and go on to employ many of those high school students who choose to study at Deakin as DEAP mentors and role models for future incoming students. We support our mentors in their own journeys by creating a safe community and a sense of belonging to help them thrive, as well as on-campus employment and work experience to build lifelong skills they'll take with them into the future.

Upon graduation, mentors have the opportunity to join our volunteering program to continue to inspire future students and to have pivotal education and career conversations – completing the lifecycle of the DEAP student journey and paving a positive, fulfilling pathway for the next generation of lifelong learners.

School outreach program

Our Year 9–12 program links young people to critical information, experiential learning, real university experiences and industry engagement to give them the tools to make positive decisions about their future education and career pathways.

Learn more about our programs

Our mentors

We run programs that connect current students with secondary school students to nurture and inspire, by sharing experiences and pathways to study.

Volunteer with us

Volunteers have the unique opportunity to share their story with our partner schools – igniting career conversations that highlight the many different career pathways available.

My family didn’t understand the need for education and especially tertiary learning. I am the first to attend university and I was expected to support myself. However, despite all the impossibilities, I managed to try my hardest through the obstacles thrown at me.’

Liam Jones

DEAP Mentor | Bachelor of Biomedical Science student

Volunteer for the FutureME program

We're looking for volunteers from community organisations to engage in career speed meets with secondary school students. Share your career journey, answer questions and be a catalyst for motivation as part of our 2022 program.

Register as a FutureME volunteer

Inspiring the next generation of equity students

Hosna, Jordan and Liam talk about what it's like being DEAP mentors, supporting and empowering young people to reach their full potential.

Inspiring the next generation of equity students

About DEAP

We work with over 40 partner schools and community organisations in Melbourne's western suburbs, Geelong and Barwon regions and Warrnambool and Western Victoria to improve access to university for students who may have been traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

DEAP programs are made possible thanks to the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) funding provided by the Commonwealth of Australia. HEPP aims to promote equality of opportunity to education by improving outreach to widen aspiration and promote high education to people from regional and remote Australia, low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds, and Indigenous persons.

We aim to improve access to university for students and aim to:

  • breakdown barriers faced by students in accessing higher education, and introduce university as a desirable and achievable pathway
  • support the development of students' self-efficacy and learner confidence to make positive decisions about their future educational and career pathways
  • support schools and communities to prepare students for the transition to university and engage parents and carers in supporting young people
  • link industry and community professionals with young people to facilitate pivotal conversations about their future
  • connect young people and communities across local regions and beyond to engage in and explore the world around them.

We've worked with thousands of secondary school students to date and had university applications from our partner schools rise each year. Our programs are consistently evaluated to measure the impact on student engagement, satisfaction, confidence, and aspiration.

Partner with DEAP

Partner with DEAP

We welcome expressions of interest from schools wanting to participate in any of our programs or activities. Some activities have limited availability, so we suggest registering as early as possible.


^610 teacher evaluations (source: 2020 HEPPP Report and DEAP evaluation data)

Contact us

For further information about DEAP, or any of our programs and activities, please get in touch

Nathan Coffey
Manager, Student Equity
9244 6047

Email Nathan Coffey