The benefits of a university education for Indigenous students and their communities is at the heart of a new campaign to inspire more Indigenous Australians into higher education.
Rolled out to coincide with NAIDOC week, Universities Australia in partnership with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium (NATSIHEC) have launched the new campaign Indigenous OpportUNIty.
The campaign features a series of short social media videos and a website for potential students on university pathways. As Yuin man and university graduate Tim Goodwin tells students considering university study: “Believe in yourself. Apply. Go for it.”
NATSIHEC President Dr Leanne Holt said with the longest living culture in the world, Indigenous Australians have always had professions such as, doctors, teachers, scientists, engineers, and law enforcers.
“The videos launched this week celebrates the continuation of this legacy,” Dr Holt said
“These stories hope to inspire other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to show that a university pathway is accessible and achievable to fulfill personal and professional aspirations.”
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said sustained Indigenous recruitment strategies across Australian universities has meant there are more Indigenous students than ever before.
“Nearly 20,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are now studying at university – a doubling over the past decade. But universities know more needs to be done,” Ms Jackson said.
“Barriers remain and it’s not always easy to see a pathway to uni – particularly for those who are the first in their family to consider higher education. That’s why this campaign is designed to both inspire and inform potential Indigenous students.”
More than half of Indigenous university graduates (59 per cent) earn a thousand dollars a week or more, compared to only 15 per cent of Indigenous year 12 graduates.
Indigenous undergraduates also earn more and are more likely to be employed than non-Indigenous undergraduates immediately upon graduation. Nearly 80 per cent of Indigenous students say they are happy with the quality of their university education.
The campaign features engaging video profiles of:
- Becki Cook – a Nunukul woman of the Quandamooka people of Minjerribah or Stradbroke Island, who completed a Bachelor of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Education and is an HDR candidate completing a Master of Education and Professional Studies Research at Griffith University.
- Liam Birch – A Torres Strait Islander man from Thursday Island and a second-year business student at Griffith University.
- Shahnaz Rind – Yamatji woman from north-west Western Australia who moved to Melbourne for her final years of high school and completed a Bachelor of Nursing at Deakin University. She is now a project officer at the Youth Affairs Council Victoria working with Indigenous young people across the State.
- Tim Goodwin – a Yuin man from south-coast NSW who completed his high school years in Canberra. After completing a law degree at The Australian National University, he went on to be a barrister practising in Melbourne.
The campaign website features videos, information on applying to university and links to all 39 university websites. For more information, visit www.indigenousopportunity.edu.au
More on Indigenous participation, success and employment in universities, including Universities Australia’s sector wide strategy, can be found on the Universities Australia’s website.