While the number of Indigenous people studying for a post-school qualification has doubled between 2002 and 2018-19, more can be done to encourage Indigenous people to go to university.
“Believe in yourself. Apply. Go for it.” is the simple but compelling message behind a new campaign, Indigenous OpportUNIty, designed to encourage and inspire more Indigenous people to embark upon university study.
Launched by Universities Australia with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Higher Education Consortium (NATSIHEC), the campaign shares the stories of four Indigenous people who have undertaken university study.
Becki Cook is 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 is a Torres Strait Islander man from Thursday Island and a second-year business student at Griffith University.
Shahnaz Rind is a 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 is 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 complements activities already undertaken by Australia’s universities to improve higher education participation and success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including the Universities Australia Indigenous Strategy (2017-20). Through the strategy, which will be revised and relaunched in 2021, Universities Australia’s 39 member universities have committed to make further gains in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation, retention, success and completion in universities.
The Indigenous OpportUNIty campaign website provides potential students with information on how to apply to university and links to all 39 university websites.
For more information on the campaign, visit indigenousopportunity.edu.au.