Skilling Indigenous Students for the Future

The Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) was established in 2008 in response to community demand from Indigenous families who choose to enrol their children in boarding schools.

Bringing together the government and private sector, AIEF provides scholarship funding for Indigenous students to complete Year 12 or tertiary studies, with career support to help them make a successful transition to employment.

Each year AIEF hosts the Learn It! Live It! Work Readiness Workshop, which is part of a suite of activities that provide AIEF Scholarship Students with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully and confidently navigate the journey of completing school and moving into university, further studies or the workplace, right through to ongoing success in their chosen fields.

In 2021, due to ongoing border closures and effects of Covid, the workshop was held online with Year 12 students from AIEF Partner Schools around Australia connecting virtually.

Representatives from the CommBank Start Smart program led a financial literacy session on the importance of financial goals, budgeting and saving.  These skills will help students make confident financial choices and provided them with practical spending and saving solutions.

In a session on job interview techniques, volunteers from AIEF Partner Allens outlined key attributes and core traits employers look for in candidates.  Volunteers worked with students to discuss and  prepare responses to commonly asked interview questions.  This was a great opportunity for students to practice the skills they need to make a great impression on potential employers.

Always a highlight of the workshop, the AIEF Alumni panel featured four AIEF scholarship graduates who shared their own career pathways and spoke about the support that continues to be available from AIEF after Year 12 graduation.  By hearing from those who have gone through the transition from boarding school to a wide range of careers, work and independent living situations, students are able to manage their expectations and attitudes, and see how the goals they set and decisions they make now will contribute to ongoing growth and successful employment.

The final presentation was by AIEF Ambassador Nova Peris OAM who shared her journey and message of strength and resilience with the Class of 2021.  Students were inspired by the former Olympian and federal Senator’s messages of self-belief and determination, and the importance of accepting guidance and help in order to achieve your goals.

During another challenging year, AIEF Scholarship Students have shown perseverance and dedication in adapting to changing situations while continuing to shine in their academic, sporting, social justice and leadership pursuits.

Backed by some of Australia’s most influential business and community leaders, AIEF has grown from one scholarship student in 2008 to now supporting over 1,000 young Indigenous people from over 400 communities in every state and territory of Australia.

The AIEF Class of 2021 were asked what completing Year 12 means to them – you can watch their responses here.

AIEF is TEDxSydney’s Pay It Forward partner for 2021. Your contribution to the Pay It Forward program helps TEDxSydney provide registrations for AIEF students to take part in TEDxSydney 2021.