The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME)

Year: 2012

Author: Priestly, Amy, Harwood, Valerie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) provides a dynamic educational Program that gives Indigenous high school students the skills, opportunities and confidence to finish school at the same rate as all Australian students. AIME started in 2005 when 25 Mentors from Sydney University were partnered with 25 Mentees from a local Sydney high school. In 2012, AIME is connecting approximately 1,000 Indigenous high school Mentees with 1,000 university volunteer Mentors across 10 university sites in three states.

At each university site, AIME operates a Core and Outreach Program. The Core Program targets local Indigenous high school students located within 30 minutes of a partner university campus. The Outreach Program extends the AIME experience for students up to three hours from a university campus. AIME runs specific programs for Year 9 and 10 students covering topics such as Respect, Aboriginality, Pathways to Success, Racism and Year 11 and 12 Subject Selection. AIME also runs Year 11 and 12 Leadership and Development Programs that focus on Year 12 completion and future pathways to university, further education or employment.

AIME has proven to significantly improve the chances of Indigenous kids finishing school. Since 2010, AIME has tracked and published its students' progression rates, showing that AIME students are finishing school at almost the same rate as every Australian child. In 2011, 88% of AIME students finished Year 12 and 36% went on to enroll in university, substantially higher than the national average statistics for Indigenous high school students.

AIME believes that Indigenous = success and this philosophy does not stop with the Mentees. The AIME Program is in high demand from university students who are seeking to develop as well-rounded graduates and engage in a significant cultural development opportunity. With ten hours of Mentor training, university students also have the opportunity to gain new leadership and development skills.

Universities gain increased engagement with local high schools as well as an increased profile in the Indigenous Community. This allows a direct communication line with local Indigenous students for the promotion of university opportunities.

AIME employs at least one Indigenous staff member per University site who delivers the sessions. In addition, AIME also has a nationwide Cadet Program run in conjunction with the DEEWR Indigenous Cadetship Support (ICS) Program, employing full-time Indigenous University students to work part-time at AIME. The Cadets work as 'roving journalists' across Australia, capturing and sharing stories of indigenous success.