An innovative mentoring program supported by RMIT University is boosting school completion rates among Indigenous students in Melbourne.
The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) aims to greatly improve the chances of Indigenous youth finishing school.
Recently release figures show more than 95 per cent of Year 9 Indigenous students who were mentored by RMIT students through the program last year progressed to Year 10.
The figures also show almost 82 per cent of RMIT-mentored students completed Year 12 last year – more than 10 per cent above the average completion rate for Indigenous students around Australia (71.8 per cent).
AIME CEO, Jack Manning Bancroft, said the organisation aimed to engage 10,000 children a year by 2018.
"We’re grateful for the continued support from RMIT and their commitment to walking with us on the road to 10,000 kids," Mr Bancroft said.
RMIT has been involved in the program since 2010, with 80 Indigenous students mentored at the University last year.
Student AIME volunteers provide 15 one-hour mentoring sessions at RMIT through the "Interactive" program for Year 9 students and "Leadership" program for Year 10 students.
RMIT volunteers mentor Indigenous school students through the program.
Four full-day sessions are held for Year 11 and 12 students, where RMIT mentors offer guidance and motivation on completing Year 12 and transitioning to higher education.
Jedda Atkinson, a Year 12 student mentored through the program at RMIT, said she planned to study at university next year and hoped to become a broadcast journalist.
"RMIT and AIME have helped me to believe that regardless of who you are and where you come from, anything is possible," she said.
"They have taught me to think big and that no matter how impossible your goals may seem, there is always a way to reach them if you are willing to put in the time, determination and hard work."
As well as supporting the AIME program, RMIT promotes Indigenous education through a range of initiatives.
The Ngarara Willim Centre provides guidance with study, living and cultural needs as well as supporting Indigenous students through a non-ATAR based application process (the Indigenous Access Scheme).
RMIT also offers a range of scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to help them in their studies.
In other education initiatives, the University offers an 18-month Indigenous traineeship in dental assistance, which is helping to boost the number of Indigenous dental assistants.
RMIT also recently celebrated 10 years of an innovative Indigenous apprentice plumbing program that has trained students from across Australia.
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