Indigenous high school students AIME high with mentoring program

Published 6 June 2012

Jack Manning Bancroft
Jack Manning Bancroft, the 26-year-old founder of a mentoring program that pairs university students with Indigenous Australian high school students, will be special guest when his innovative course is launched at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus today (Wednesday June 6).

Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) is an educational program that gives Indigenous high school students the skills, opportunities, belief and confidence to finish school at the same rate as their peers. AIME also connects students with opportunities available after they finish Year 12, including further education and employment.

“We’d love to see Indigenous kids from the North Coast lead the way for Indigenous kids around Australia by showing them that they can finish school at the same rate as every Australian kid,” said Jack, a Bundjalung man who has spent much of his life living in Sydney.

The first round of the three-day AIME program will be rolled out at the University’s Lismore campus on June 6, August 1 and October 31. Around 40 Year 9 to 12 students from Lismore, Ballina and Casino High Schools will be each paired with a Southern Cross University student.

AIME has been operating at SCU’s Coffs Harbour campus since 2009, with more than 300 mentors and mentees taking part. SCU Gold Coast students have been recruited as AIME mentors and that campus will host its first sessions with local Indigenous high school students later this year.

Pro Vice Chancellor Academic Professor Andrew McAuley said the University was proud to partner with AIME to bring the program to the Northern Rivers.

“It’s a great opportunity for our region’s Indigenous high school students to expand their horizons. We know that the students who take part in AIME are more likely to stay at school.

“By interacting with Southern Cross University students, who in many cases are just a few years their senior, the mentees begin to understand the doors that can open for them if they complete their high school education. Like considering a university degree,” said Professor McAuley.

Jack Manning Bancroft founded AIME in 2005 as a then 19-year-old university student with 25 Indigenous kids in Sydney’s Redfern. Since then the program has grown; 787 students from Years 7 to 12 took part in AIME in 2011 (a 49 per cent increase on 529 students in 2010).

Jack’s mother, Bronwyn Bancroft, is a Bundjalung artist of the Djanbun clan from Baryulgil near Grafton.

“It’s been a great bonus to have the chance to get the program to the region my family comes from,” Jack said.

For more information about the AIME program go to the website aimementoring.com

Watch the ABC Australian Story episode about AIME and Jack Manning Bancroft.
Photo: Jack Manning Bancroft.

Media contact: Sharlene King media officer, Southern Cross University Lismore, 02 6620 3508 or 0429 661 349.