UNE’s Outreach activities to include and attract Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their effectiveness

During 2014 UNE was involved in a number of community projects that would assist in generating aspiration for higher education. These outreach programs are aimed at addressing specific areas of community need, with the potential for participants to see further possibilities after achieving success in higher education. The approaches are either a natural extension of UNE academic programs or research, or making use of current UNE facilities.

An example is the HEPP funded UNE Youth Leadership Project which was designed to provide capacity building activities that develop educational aspiration among young people from low SES backgrounds in the New England North West, in conjunction with educational assessment and identification of pathways to higher education. The project had the following objectives:

  • Design and deliver a series of youth leadership workshops at UNE, its Access Centres and in local communities to support the determination of young people from low SES backgrounds within the context of educational opportunity. It also sought to:
    • Provide low SES communities with the necessary skills to develop and implement a community research strategy for the William Lindt Collection, while connecting young people with experienced community mentors, building educational aspirations and practical pathways to higher education.
    • In conjunction with the youth leadership programs, develop and distribute a series of popular role models, a media campaign and school/community resource kits to support capacity building in local communities during and beyond the life of the project.

Details of other outreach activities that were undertaken by UNE during 2014 are provided below.

Other outreach activities conducted by UNE during 2014

Outreach activity

Target audience

Outline of Program


Education and Skills Forums on the mid-North Coast of NSW


Participation in these forums encourage collaborative partnerships with the communities we serve

Community relationships strengthened

Elder in Residence Program

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Oorala Elder in Residence has advisory role to Oorala and UNE on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student and community engagement and protocols

Elder in residence involved in Oorala and official UNE functions, community networks; representation on key committees and other groups

Increased Oorala involvement with local Elders’ groups

Stellar Program –HEPPP funded in partnership with SCU

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Low SES future students

Stellar facilitates aspirational programs and workshops for low socio economic and Indigenous students attending Year 7 to 10 at Clarence Valley High Schools

83% of students expressed an increased confidence they could go to university

UNE Youth Leadership Project

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Low SES future students; see details below on programs through the project aimed at specific age groups of ATSI youth and others

HEPPP funded set of leadership programs including workshops and capacity building for higher education, in partnership with Aboriginal Land Councils across the Northern Region for leadership training, fostering engagement, maintenance of current education pathways, educational aspiration and awareness, address health and domestic issues.

20 leadership workshops; consistent  attendance at weekly leadership workshops; excellent participation at ‘Light the Fire’ event; advanced standing into UNE Pathways program; recruitment of role models; funding sought to extend project into 2015


‘Get Active Days’ (Years 7-10 male and female Aboriginal school students from Armidale, Guyra and Walcha; aimed at students ‘at risk’ of disengaging with school and community)

Series of weekly physical activities designed to engage young Aboriginal people; program included self-esteem and confidence building in the context of youth leadership

‘Get Active’ encouraged and maintained pathways and fostering of aspirations into future education for 15 students referred into the program by local schools; multiple full day sessions held weekly outside school hours at sport and gym facilities


Connected Communities Youth Leadership Workshops (Year 10 Aboriginal school students, Moree Secondary College)

Initial broad spectrum Leadership workshops to be held for Moree students, follow up sessions planned

32 students attended initial workshops in Moree; excellent feedback from student participants and school


‘Kaih Alinta’ – Girls Engagement/Leadership Workshops (Year 10 female students, Armidale High School; for students ‘at risk’ of disengaging from high school)

Developed to engage local female students, based on model developed through ‘Lighting the Fire’ camp materials

Session programs developed and pilot group established; 7 Aboriginal female students enrolled in the program in Armidale; Kaih Alinta program then linked with local ‘BackTrack’ program which aimed at the same target group, sharing resources and support mechanisms


‘Mums & Bubs’ Trial Sessions (Aboriginal mothers aged 18-24 years in Armidale)

In partnership with Hunter New England Community Health’s Mothers and Babies program and Medicare Local, sessions planned to re-engage young mothers into exercise, group social activities and discussion with crèche service provided.

Community Health and Medicare Local ran ‘Mums &  Bubs’ sessions at Sport UNE; 4 mothers and 5 babies participated


‘Light the Fire’ Walcha Family & Community Engagement Day (Aboriginal children 0-15 years and Parents/carers 18-70 years in Walcha), including ‘Light the Fire Aboriginal Youth Leadership workshop’ for Aboriginal youth aged 13-16 years

Engagement event to be held at Walcha Central School by ‘Light the Fire’ project in partnership with Walcha Family Support and Walcha Aboriginal Lands Council

Program included the ‘Light the Fire’ Aboriginal Youth Leadership workshop, support workshop on health and domestic violence issues. The event also raised awareness of higher education pathways for Aboriginal people, and  promotion of Youth Leadership Project events (Knockout Touch Footy Competition and ‘Light the Fire’ Aboriginal Youth Leadership camp); 20 parents/carers and 57 children participated at the event


Aboriginal Rugby League Touch Footy Knockout Tournament (mixed age target group, male and female Aboriginal people from northern region of NSW)

A major component of the Aboriginal Youth Leadership project aimed to hold a one day football competition at Sport UNE for 12 mixed gender teams through the Northern Region Aboriginal Lands Council network

120 team members participated and approx. 200-300 supporters, families and spectators attended, from Aboriginal communities in Armidale, Uralla, Walcha, Tamworth, Inverell, Glen Innes and Guyra


‘Light the Fire’ Youth Leadership Camp (for Aboriginal male and female youth aged 14-20 years from across local regions)

The second major Aboriginal youth leadership camp to be held over 3 days through ‘Light the Fire’ at the Echidna Gully bush camp complex near Armidale. The culminating event of the UNE Youth Leadership project and its associated 2014 activities.

Successful Leadership camp held following the Footy Knockout: Eight team leaders were recruited as casual employees to supervise camp participants, four of those supervising had been participants in the 2013 ‘Light the Fire’ camp; 44 participants attended, most of whom had engaged with other Youth Leadership project activities during 2014

Youth reengagement programs (BackTrack and Clontarf)

BackTrack through Jobs Australia targets disadvantaged youth

Armidale Clontarf Academy at Armidale High School runs programs for Aboriginal boys Years 7 to 12, see http:www.clontarf.org.au

Funded by SportUNE; Health and wellbeing programs;

support for Backtrack pilot Program, to improve health and wellbeing of youth from Indigenous and low SES backgrounds; Clontarf engages school students with education, employment and community through football and wellbeing programs

For Backtrack SportUNE developed customised exercise and nutritional program for participants, personal trainer, membership passes and gym equipment for Backtrack School in Armidale

For Clontarf: SportUNE and UNE supported a major cricket carnival for Clontarf Academies involving Aboriginal role models

Implementation of the QuickSmart program in schools, prisons and remote workplaces

Educationally disadvantaged groups who are experiencing learning problems or delays and, hence, not achieving their academic potential. (see simerr.une.edu.au/quicksmart/)

The QuickSmart program is a responsive small-group intervention that aims to develop fluent (Quick) and efficient (Smart) strategy use. QuickSmart uses research-based instructional strategies to support the learning of persistently low-achieving middle school students so that they are more actively and successfully engaged in inclusive classroom settings.

Independent (federal, state-wide or standardised tests) assessments gathered from QuickSmart and comparison students over ten years consistently show that Indigenous and non-Indigenous QuickSmart students have made substantial academic improvement.