Ventia employee Rob McEwan in a Zoom meeting with ABCN students - screen shot

It's clear from the feedback that we receive that Rob McEwan has become one of Ventia's most popular ABCN mentors.

When asked to name the best thing about our ABCN programs, on occasion students have been compelled to write just two words "Ventia Rob!"

He's become a sought-after guest at online mentoring sessions from Perth to Hobart. 

"Everyone here knows Ventia Rob," says ABCN Partnerships Manager Liam Dooley. 

Australian Business and Community Network program

Rob is one of hundreds of Ventia staff who, over recent years, have contributed their time to inspire students from low socio-economic backgrounds to achieve their potential in the future world of work. They are able to do this, thanks to our partnership with ABCN -Australian Business and Community Network - a purpose-led, not-for-profit organisation that brings businesses and schools together to address educational disadvantage.

"My first experience of ABCN was a digital online mentoring program called Future Thinkers," Rob said. 

It was in the middle of COVID-19 lockdowns and it was something very different from my day-to-day work. It was extremely well run by the facilitators and the students were really great and engaged considering the stress and pressures that everyone was facing at the time.

After his first session, Rob - whose day job is as an electrician on our Frankston City Council Contract - was hooked. 

From then on, he was able to join more sessions from the comfort of his work van (parked safely of course), scheduling it around his daily tasks. His work van has become a feature of some programs as much as Rob has, with students in one session quizzing him on what kind of vehicle it was, the year, model and fit out.  

"What drove me to put up my hand again and again was how challenging, fun and rewarding the programs are," he said. 


Ventia employee Rob McEwan in his van

Rob McEwan is passionate about the mentoring work with ABCN - pictured here in his work van, which has become a feature of some programs as much as Rob has.


Making a difference

"The reward you get from potentially making a real positive difference on a young person's life cannot be underestimated.

"It is so incredibly valuable that kids get the opportunity to talk to people in the workforce with a variety of backgrounds because the world can be a big, scary and overwhelming place when you are young. 

"It (the mentoring sessions) can give them back belief, hope, aspirations, confidence and drive to succeed in whatever direction they may take in their working life. 

"It also shows the students that there are many ways to succeed and many career paths to take."

The benefits of mentoring students through ABCN go beyond just the impact you can have on a young person's journey, there are also good life skills to be gained by the mentors themselves.

"Being a mentor has greatly improved my confidence and communication skills," Rob said.

It is a great way to keep you humble and remind you to keep everything in your life in perspective. By engaging in something outside your comfort zone, it really helps you grow as a person.

A champ on and off the screen 

Rob's contributions to the community were recognised recently, when he was announced as a runner up in the 2023 Community First Aid Champion category at the St John's Ambulance Victoria First Aid Champions Awards. This award recognises those who have demonstrated a great act of service with their First Aid skills in a time of need in the community. 

"I am super proud to be a runner up in these awards," Rob says. "It was a great day with some amazing people and getting to hear all their incredible stories using their first aid skills!"

Congratulations Rob! 


Read more about our partnership with ABCN here: