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AIME program boosts Indigenous participation


Brigid Veale
28 June 2013
Southern Cross University’s participation in the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) program for Indigenous high school students is paying off, with around 70 per cent of year 9 participants progressing through to year 12.

Southern Cross University is one of 16 universities across Australia that is helping to drive the educational achievement of Indigenous students through the AIME program.

The 2012 annual report released by AIME shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students who participated in AIME’s intensive coaching, leadership and mentoring program progressed from year 10 to year 11 at a higher rate than their non-Indigenous peers. Historically a ‘drop-out’ stage for high school students, year 10 AIME students achieved 93.6 per cent transition to year 11, marginally above the national average for non-Indigenous students of 93 per cent.

The report shows the transformative impact of the AIME program extends to the tertiary level. The year 9 to university progression rate for AIME students was 22.1 percent – nearly six times the national Indigenous average of 3.8 percent and approaching the national non-Indigenous average of 36.8 percent.

In Lismore, 100 per cent of Indigenous year 9 students who participated in the AIME program through the Lismore campus transitioned to year 10, on par with the national non-Indigenous average of 100 per cent. The year 9 to 12 progression rate was 68.5 per cent – exceeding the national Indigenous average of 38 per cent and approaching the national non-Indigenous average of 79.9 per cent. Further, all year 12 students who participated in the AIME program at the Lismore campus completed their penultimate year.

In Coffs Harbour, 100 per cent of Indigenous year 9 students who participated in the AIME program transitioned to year 10. The year 9 to 12 progression rate was 65.9 per cent.

At the Gold Coast campus, the year 9 to 12 progression rate was 78 per cent, and 33 per cent of the year 12 participants were eligible for their course of choice at university for 2013.

AIME founder and chief executive officer Jack Manning Bancroft said Southern Cross University was playing a significant part in supporting their local Indigenous students to excel.

“SCU has laid strong foundations for the AIME program to have a huge impact on the North Coast of NSW and up into the Gold Coast in the coming years,” said Mr Manning Bancroft. “Their continued commitment to Indigenous success has been unwavering and the strong results reflect this.”

Professor Andrew McAuley, Pro Vice Chancellor Academic, said the University was pleased to be participating in the program.

“This is a great initiative which not only benefits the Indigenous high school students, but also provides great experience for our university students who act as mentors for these young people,” Professor McAuley said.

The report also cites an independent evaluation by academics at the University of Wollongong and the University of Western Sydney that found: “AIME positively impacted the strength and resilience of mentees, mentee pride in being Indigenous, mentees making strong connections with Indigenous peers, role models and culture, aspirations and engagement for finishing school, aspirations for continuing to further study and school retention rates.”

Southern Cross University students who are interested in being an AIME mentor can find more information at or by emailing AIME Program Manager, Cindy Castella [email protected]:

The AIME Annual Report is available at

Photo: AIME mentees and mentors at Southern Cross University's Coffs Harbour campus.