Indigenous Futures Collaboration Project (2014-2016)

Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP)

The Indigenous Futures Collaboration Project (IFCP) is funded by the Commonwealth Government HEPPP. The project aims to increase participation, and successful completion, of higher education studies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The project supports Indigenous people, living in varied settings, to further their education by raising awareness of study options, both on-campus and online and by mapping clear pathways to higher education, including vocational education. Through this project, Swinburne will foster a new whole-of-university approach to Indigenous education, which will facilitate access to high-quality mainstream courses across all discipline areas.

To connect with Indigenous students on a national scale, Swinburne is proud to partner with Indigenous organisations and employers across the country. This collaboration has increased the reach of the project and has developed Swinburne's utilisation of online and mobile learning technologies.

Integrated digitally-enabled learning demonstrator projects

The first phase of the IFCP is the running of three demonstrator projects in partnership with community-based organisations and organisations working with Indigenous Australians in low socioeconomic status (SES)regions. These projects provide training in education, health and media. Evidence from the projects is transferable to broad tertiary pathways. Pathways to higher education, specifically online undergraduate programs, have been mapped for all projects to inform and support students to continue tertiary studies. In addition, these projects inform the design and trial of new integrated and digitally enabled learning.

The core focus for the projects includes:

  • collaborative course designs
  • mobile and life-integrated learning
  • digital-enabled mentoring and culturally accepted social media
  • respectful and locally informed use of Indigenous ways of learning
  • Indigenous knowledge in course and partnership model design
  • awareness about barriers and options for removing them, to education using digitally enabled media
  • research.

Local learning-support workers are engaged for all projects to ensure students receive personalised assistance. Support is provided to access technology, navigate the learning program, understand course content and assessment requirements, and access language and literacy support.

Support workers play an important data collection role for the research component of the project. They document the progress of learners, specifically the factors that contribute positively to completing a qualification and successfully transitioning on to tertiary level studies, and the factors that act as a barrier to sustaining participation in learning.

Our project partners will use the experience gained from participation in the demonstrator projects to leave a sustainable and ongoing resource for their communities. The foundations for expanding projects and building new partnerships to support ongoing delivery will also be possible.

Northern Territory Community Services Demonstrator Project

A group made up of the Human Services Training Advisory Council, Carpentaria Disability Services, Carers NT, the Council for Aboriginal Alcohol Program Services Inc. and Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation has formed to develop customised digital pathway learning programs. The programs incorporate Indigenous ways of learning for the following courses:

  • Certificate II in Community Services (a set of introductory units that enables learners to gain the prerequisite skills required for entry into Certificate III and IV level courses)
  • Certificate III in Individual Support (newly packaged qualification for the disability and aged care sector)
  • Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs.


Lisa Devlin-Neal, Project Manager

Broome, WA Creative Industries Demonstrator Project

Swinburne has partnered with Indigenous media pioneers; Goolarri Media Enterprises, to develop a suite of online creative industries courses. The courses allow learners to pathway into undergraduate programs in media, communication, design and/or interactive digital media. Courses include:

  • Certificate II in Media (developed via our HEPPP Reconciliation Action Plan Project as an enabler and engagement program for learners who need to build prerequisite skills for Certificate III and IV level courses)
  • Certificate III in Media
  • Certificate IV in interactive digital media.


Yee Man Louie, Project Manager

Queensland Education Support Demonstrator Project

A range of stakeholders both within the Queensland Ministry of Education, academia and Indigenous education organisations will collaborate together to support the digital development and piloting of an online tool for existing workers to identify and evidence their prior learning and access ‘gap’ training required to complete the qualification.  Learners will be supported to pursue tertiary level qualifications in education and or related areas such as management or the social sciences.  Pathway course developed:

  • Certificate IV in Education Support


Lisa Devlin-Neal, Project Manager


For further information about the Indigenous Futures Collaboration Project, contact:

Jill Slater, HEPPP Indigenous Futures Project Manager