The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) has a long-standing partnership with the researchers and together we form the AIME Research Partnership. Researchers are from the University of Wollongong (UOW), University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). We work together to try and better understand how and why AIME mentoring works to improve educational engagement and outcomes for Indigenous young people.
AIME is an Indigenous mentoring program; however, it is not a university pathway or outreach program. AIME is a not-for-profit organisation that is independent of universities and so is uniquely positioned to work across educational institutions. The purpose of the AIME program is to support Indigenous students to complete high school and transition to any positive post-school pathway of their choosing (including university, further education or employment). For information about AIME please visit www.aimementoring.com
Following one internally funded project at UOW and an evaluation of the AIME outreach program (DEEWR, 2012-13), AIME negotiated with the Federal Government for a grant to be allocated to the research team at UOW (AIME Partnership Grant). In allocating this funding, DEEWR commented positively on the approach adopted in the previous evaluation, which incorporated liaison with Indigenous Australian researchers. In 2013, a proposal for funding to the ARC was submitted and we were successful in winning funding for the Discovery Project Mentoring and Indigenous Higher Education: Understanding how university students mentor Indigenous school students (Harwood, Chandler, & O’Shea).
The research partnership is committed to capacity building. The partnership includes one fully funded PhD scholarship for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student and an undergraduate research capacity building program for employing UOW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in current research with AIME. The AIME Evaluation Project (DEEWR, 2012-13) employed one UOW Aboriginal student who was included in the authorship of the final report submitted to AIME and was supported and sponsored to attend and present on AIME research at the Australian Association of Research in Education (AARE) conference, Adelaide 2013.