Swinburne supporting outcomes for Indigenous girls

Tuesday 9 July 2019

Girls Academy students posing for a group photo

The in-school mentoring program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls reaches 2700 students

In summary

  • Swinburne has partnered with the Girls Academy, to support Indigenous female students in finding future study and career pathways
  • Girls Academy is an in-school mentoring program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls running at 45 schools and reaches 2700 students

Swinburne has partnered with Australia’s leading school mentoring program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls, the Girls Academy, to support participants’ in finding future study and career pathways. 

Swinburne is also supporting the not-for-profit’s ‘Be the Change’ Indigenous Careers Expo on 9 July 2019 in Sydney, where more than 200 girls and young women will meet with employers and educational institutions, and take part in workshops and activities.

Girls Academy CEO and Founder, Ricky Grace, says the partnership will allow the organisation to better assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls to seek out and access opportunities in higher education. 

“An important part of the Girls Academy program is getting students to explore their options, set goals and find the best way to get there. This partnership with Swinburne will have a positive impact on that element of our mission,” says Mr Grace. 

“A very low proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students go on to higher education, especially compared to non-Indigenous students. Working with higher education institutions such as Swinburne will help the Girls Academy in our aim to close that gap.”

The Girls Academy was founded in 2004 and works with students at 45 schools across Australia.

Executive Director of Swinburne’s Moondani Toombadool Centre, Professor Andrew Gunstone, says they are proud to partner with the leading provider of school-based engagement programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls in the country.

“We’re delighted to be helping the Girls Academy to knock down the barriers that are preventing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls from completing their education and reaching their full potential,” he says.

Girls Academy student studying in the classroom

Each participating school has an 'Academy Room' that provides a sanctuary for the girls to connect, learn and prosper in a safe and nurturing environment

Support in action

As part of the partnership, representatives from Swinburne have visited Girls Academy schools in Victoria, given study advice and spoken with graduating high school students about tertiary courses and the dedicated Indigenous Student Support services available at Swinburne.

Swinburne is also working directly with Girls Academy to organise Hawthorn and Croydon campus experiences, and to develop school outreach activities with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for the more than 2,700 Girls Academy students across Australia.

Be the change

The Girls Academy ‘Be the Change’ Indigenous Careers Expo will take place in Sydney during NAIDOC Week. It is a fun and interactive exposition aimed at opening doors to education and employment for Girls Academy students and the wider Indigenous community.

Swinburne is sponsoring fashion designer and Gunnai, Wiradjuri, Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta woman, Lyn-Al Young, who will share her journey at the exposition and encourage students to take control of their futures.

Ms Young is also teaming up with the Moondani Toombadool Centre and Marngo Designing Futures program to bring her fashion and dreaming (‘Fasheaming’) workshop to the Girls Academy at Broome Senior High School in September.

The Marngo Designing Futures program is part of Swinburne’s Centre for Design Innovation and provides fun, hands-on activities and tools for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary students to explore creative industry pathways and careers.

This is the second year Swinburne and Ms Young have run the immersive workshop, which focusses on personal empowerment through culture, design and storytelling.

"My Fasheaming program is about working with young people, to grow in confidence, cultural identity and set goals to achieve their dreams. It’s a perfect fit to partner with Marngo Designing Futures at Swinburne,” Ms Young says.