This week our blog comes from some University of Wollongong and AIME colleagues who are reflecting upon a five-year research partnership that has explored the success of this Indigenous Mentoring program at a national and international level.

Warm regards,



The [AIME] program … was definitely something for me that kept me there [attending school]. That transition from Year 9 to Year 10 and then Year 10 was when I realised the potential of being actually able to go through to Year 11 and 12 and I could do well at school … go to University even though my family hadn’t done so. So I think overcoming that sense of that education wasn’t for Indigenous kids definitely changed during the AIME program.

(Graduate of the AIME program now studying at university)

The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) is an educational mentoring program that works to ensure Indigenous students complete school and transition to post-school pathways at the same rate as all Australians. In our work for the AIME Research Partnership, we have interviewed 143 high school students attending AIME and 13 people who attended AIME in high school and are now studying at university. We often hear these students comment on AIME’s role in supporting them to surpass educational levels of their family members, such as the opening comment .

 Whilst not all the AIME Graduate university students we talked to were first-in-family students, many of the young people shared that they were pursuing the highest educational level their families had experienced.

So, what is AIME doing that is working so well in terms of inspiring and motivating students to continue to engage with education?  Well, that’s what we’ve been researching over the past six years. Our new website lists all our major collaborators, findings and 21 publications (the site also provides many full-text links).

The site features work that refers to:

  • Successful approaches to recognising and working with Indigenous high school students’ aspirations
  • creating culturally safe learning environments on university campuses
  • focusing on educational retention for Indigenous students.
Also of interest might be our findings about the positive impacts of mentoring for AIME on the university student experience, and exploratory research on extending the reach of campus-based mentoring programs. Check out this NCSEHE news article for insights on our latest work in this space.

The AIME Research Partnership has been going for years, but we’re nowhere near done – we still have much to learn from AIME’s success. We’re currently working on journal articles about ‘Shame’ and ‘No Shame’ in educational contexts and the AIME learning environment and, as AIME goes international … we’re looking forward to walking with AIME for many years to come.


The authors include:

Valerie Harwood is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and leader of the AIME Research Partnership team of scholars. Check out her new WP book.

Samantha McMahon is Research Fellow for the AIME Research Partnership, she explores how educators’ knowledge impacts the inequities of student experience.

Amy Priestly is the Research Director at AIME. Amy works with researchers from around the globe to build an evidence base for AIME’s work.


One comment on “AIME-ing Higher and Getting Further in Education

  • AIME is simply wonderful and what they’re doing is inspiring. I’m happy that my kids are doing well at Kingsway Christian College ( and I feel like these indigenous kids also deserve to have a proper education just like all other kids. I am glad to know AIME gives them the opportunity and the support they need to get further with their education.

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