The GO Foundation commissioned KPMG Arilla Indigenous Services to examine the correlation between the completion of further education by Indigenous students and better outcomes for those students and their communities. The Research is attached below with a brief statement on the findings. The GO Foundation would like to thank KPMG Arilla Indigenous Services, Propel Group and the Department of Education and Training for their generosity with respect to the research.

Further Education and Indigenous Communities

Research Findings

The research is demonstrative of the many social, cultural, and economic benefits which may be derived through the promotion of further education in Indigenous communities. In a landscape in which Australia currently faces skills gaps across specific segments of the economy; challenges in terms of future of workforces; and the emergence of technologies that continue to disrupt society; these benefits underpin the imperative to ensure that all Australian’s have equal opportunity to participate socially, culturally and economically.

The literature appears clear – the completion of further education by Indigenous Australians is likely to lead to increased earning capacity, greater employment opportunities, improved health and wellbeing outcomes, and reduced interaction with the justice system. Such implications must be considered in light of individual circumstance, with a recognition of the diversity that exists across Indigenous communities.

If realised, it is likely that the benefits of a greater percentage of Indigenous Australians completing further education will be experienced beyond Indigenous communities, by communities across Australia. The literature suggests however, that there remains complex barriers that impact the enrolment into, and completion of further education by Indigenous students. These barriers differ based on individual circumstance, and are underpinned by a variety of factors. For example, socio-economic disadvantage, location, the cost of education itself as well as the support network surrounding each Indigenous person, shapes their identity, and desire to pursue further education.

There are enablers that that are likely to increase participation in further education by Indigenous Australians. These include enhancing the quality of school experience for Indigenous students to ensure that culture is recognised, such that the aspirations of the individual are developed. Additionally, providing access to career advice and guidance, and information on the various choices and pathways available for Indigenous Students is linked to increasing the quality of the school experience for Indigenous Australians.

While this report has been developed to support the GO Foundation in promoting the uptake of further education in Indigenous communities, it is clear from the literature that a concerted effort must be maintained to ensure that Indigenous Australians have the same choices as non-Indigenous Australians in entering and completing further education if they so wish.

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