The Role of Education for the Next Generation of Indigenous Professionals

“There are plenty of examples of Indigenous success; we just have to recognise it and replicate it.” Mick Dodson (2012). Whilst it is important to identify the failures and its causes in Australian Indigenous employment (Closing the Gap, 2017; Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report, 2016), it is equally important to identify the successes and its causes. There are growing number of Indigenous Australians triumphing in their work, however little is understood about what has driven their success. This ARC funded research project aimed to identify the psychosocial drivers of successful Indigenous professionals’ socioeconomic wellbeing, utilising a mixed-method approach, involving: Study 1: the analysis of longitudinal secondary data for Australian high school students; Study 2: conducting an online well-being survey for Indigenous and non-Indigenous professionals; and Study 3: qualitatively capturing Indigenous professionals' experiences, perceptions, and enriched explanations of the determinants of success and wellbeing. Results from the large-scale well-being survey conducted by Indigenous and non-Indigenous professionals provide insights into the drivers, barriers and structure of wellbeing and occupational success. Interviews conducted with Indigenous professionals provide further insights into the factors that have driven and hindered their success throughout their educational pursuits, and the early development and establishment of their careers. It is hoped that by sharing these findings with communities and organisations across Australia, the drivers of success can be utilised to promote the socio-economic participation of the next generation of Indigenous Australians.