$2.4 million to give Indigenous students a flying start

10 May 2013

Indigenous South Australian and Western Australian students will have more support to finish high school and go to university as part of a $2.4 million boost to a successful mentoring program.

The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) pairs university students with Indigenous high school students to help them succeed at high school and go on to study at university.

Following the recent success of AIME, the Gillard Government will double its total investment in the program to $4.9 million.

The extra investment will support the expansion of AIME’s activities in South Australia and Western Australia, giving an extra 900 Indigenous students access to the program over the next three years.

Minister for Higher Education and Skills Sharon Bird and Member for Makin Tony Zappia today met with new mentors and students participating in the program at the University of South Australia.

“I’m a firm believer that all Australians with the interest and ability should be encouraged to consider studying at university,” Minister Bird said.

“These students will be able to gain the skills, opportunities, and confidence to finish school and move to further study.”

Local Member for Makin Tony Zappia said it was great to be able to bring a program with an excellent track record to Adelaide. 

“I commend Uni SA for participating in the AIME program and helping to increase the number of indigenous students who attend university,” Mr Zappia said.

AIME CEO Jack Manning Bancroft welcomed the boost to the mentoring program.

“We are excited to see the Federal Government backing the thousands of people that have walked with and built AIME over the last nine years to grow us into a national program – one that is seeing Indigenous kids unlock their limitless potential,” Mr Manning Bancroft said.

Students in the program attend 15 one-hour sessions with their mentor at a university, with a more intensive outreach program for students who live remotely.

AIME already helps about 2,000 students a year at more than 200 schools, with mentors from 16 universities in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Western Australia.

The number of Indigenous students enrolled at Australian universities has grown by more than 40 per cent since 2006.

AIME is funded through the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).

For more information on AIME visit www.aimementoring.com