Students from RMIT University are assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to complete their schooling thanks to the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) program.
Those in year 9 mentored by RMIT students have had a 95% completion rate, according to figures released on the RMIT University website.
Almost 82% of Indigenous students in the mentoring program completed year 12 in 2013. The average completion rate for Indigenous students in the program Australia-wide is 71.8%.
Founder and chief executive of AIME Jack Manning Bancroft told RMIT: “We’re grateful for the continued support from RMIT and their commitment to walking with us on the road to 10,000 kids.”
Bancroft began the AIME program as a 19-year-old student at the University of Sydney. In 2008, the company became incorporated and Bancroft became CEO at age 22.
Bancroft aims to engage 10,000 Indigenous students and 3000 mentors in the program by 2016.
RMIT has participated in the program since 2010. Last year, 80 Indigenous students were mentored by students from RMIT.
Indigenous students from the program at RMIT were also recently involved in having a Bill introduced into Victorian Parliament. This represented AIME’s first engagement into the YMCA’s Youth Parliament program.
The AIME programs run from April through to November and has a particular focus depending on the year level.
Year 11 and 12 students participate in a leadership and development outreach program. This consists of four full day sessions between April and November and is held at the university.
Meanwhile, year 10 students participate in a leadership program consisting of 15 hour-long sessions held at the university between April and November each week.
Jedda Atkinson is a year 12 student who is a part of the program at RMIT. She hopes to go to University in 2015 and study journalism.
“RMIT and AIME have helped me to believe that regardless of who you are and where you come from, anything is possible,” she told RMIT.
RMIT is one of two universities in Victoria which is involved in the program, and one of 16 Australia-wide.
RMIT also has other initiatives to engage Indigenous students in education and recently celebrated 10 years of their Indigenous apprentice plumbing program.
By Sophie Wenderoth
Photograph by Noël, via Flickr.