• AIME is the biggest support provider to Indigenous high school students in Australia.
An independent survey conducted by KPMG has concluded that The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) contributed 38 million dollars to the economy in 2012.
By
Tara Callinan

Source:
NITV News
4 Mar 2014 - 5:00 PM  UPDATED 4 Mar 2014 - 6:37 PM

The programs CEO Jack Bancroft, is hoping Federal and State governments will consider expanding the AIME concept as it is now regarded as the biggest support provider to Indigenous high school students in Australia.

If the KPMG survey results generate enough funding from state and federal governments, Mr Bancroft says the program will expand to cater for remote communities.

"Where we are at the moment; we're based across 16 different universities around Australia in the five major states. We want to be able to expand in the Northern Territory to Tasmania and then into some more rural areas in some of the big states as well," said Mr Bancroft.

Unlike other close-the-gap programs, Mr Bancroft says AIME is not dependent on government money.

"What I think, what I really like about this journey, is that we haven't relied on government funding up front," he said.

"I think many of us have seen Aboriginal programs that come and go and promise the world, and in particular for the kids, that than falls apart after three years of government funding because of an over reliance on that."

AIME currently works with 3,500 Indigenous students but hopes to provide for a further 6,500 by 2018.

For every one dollar spent on an AIME student in 2012, seven dollars was generated for the Australian economy.

But Mr Bancroft says his focus is on broadening the engagement between non-indigenous mentors and AIME students.

"It's going to be amazing to see the longer term effect that AIME can have and that the people involved in AIME are going to have with their connection to Indigenous Australia and how that deepens their sense of an Australian identity as well," said Mr Bancroft.

With AIME student’s currently completing year 12 at a higher rate than their non-indigenous peers, more benefits are expected to arise.