High School Students

Our High School Program students have achieved:  

  • double Year 12 completion 
  • triple ATAR attainment 
  • double transition to university 

compared to other Indigenous students nationally  

Post-graduate Scholars

Aurora has directly supported more than 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to study at Oxford, Cambridge and other world-leading universities. Prior to 2010 there had not been an Indigenous student enrolled full-time at Oxford or Cambridge.

Wide Reach

Aurora has provided pathways for more than 1,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – from the beginning of high school through to post-graduate study – to achieve their academic and career goals through life-long learning.

Our vision

A society in which Australia’s First Peoples determine their own aspirations through education and life-long learning, shaping a new future for our country 

Theory of Change

As Aurora’s ‘Theory of Change’ demonstrates, we aim to achieve this vision by working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students, undergraduate and graduate students, and interns and professionals and creating positive and lasting impact for individuals, communities, institutions, and wider society.

Individual impact

We believe that creating impact across multiple dimensions – individual, community, institutional, and society – is necessary to bring about a changed conversation around Indigenous education from deficit to high expectations and possibilities.

Below are some examples of our impact.

170

More than 170 Indigenous scholars have participated in the International Study Tour and explored opportunities to study overseas at world-leading universities. 94% of study tour participants who have applied to study at these universities have received an offer.   

1600 hours

In Semester 1 of 2021, High School Program students undertook more than 1600 hours of private tutoring and 97% of students received a tailored academic support plan which included funding to address barriers to learning posed by Covid-19 where required.  

370

Aurora has facilitated internships for more than 370 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interns in a field relevant to their study and career goals.

“Not only was I able to complete my projects over the course of my internship, but I also became more culturally confident and proud which was a major personal goal that I had set for myself... The internship has definitely been an opportunity where I have been able to develop my professional work skills to a higher level in a short amount of time.” 

– Indigenous intern

“My parents and many other family members didn’t finish high school, let alone go on to university. I know this fact is true for many other Indigenous kids also. That means academic role models are often just not there for us. Aurora gives students an insight into uni life from an Indigenous perspective. It’s a powerful thing. In the long term, this is going to normalise the idea of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people going further with their education.”   

– Study Tour participant

"Thanks to everyone involved for giving up their time in order to pursue this program. It really does help me learn about Aboriginal culture, and I'm sure it'll do much more."

– WA HSP Student 2020

Community impact

200+

Aurora has facilitated internships at more than 200 Indigenous  organisations  and Indigenous sector organisations in urban, regional and remote settings across Australia.  

90%

90% of supervisors hosting an Aurora intern agreed that the intern was ‘extremely helpful’ or ‘very helpful’ to them and their team.  

5000 hours

Aurora’s Indigenous Mentors have given back to the community by undertaking more than 5000 hours of outreach sessions with more than 600 Indigenous high school students and supported them to think about their academic and career goals.  

“The HSP provides our young people with the cultural support and community to develop a strong sense of self and identity, intertwined with a curriculum based in our ways of knowing, being and learning. I have witnessed our young people grow in their capability to drive their own academic success and determine their own career pathways.” 

– Uncle Noel, HSP Elder

“Aurora interns are always very high impact students. For a small organisation like ours with a broad mandate and limited resources, it’s reward for us working with people with smarts, intelligence, attention to detail and go-to attitude. We are very grateful for the support”.

– Supervisor, Just Reinvest NSW

Education is not a destination but a journey, it’s about passion before profits, … [you need to] keep in the front of the mind the question: ‘how can I make a difference?’ ‘What can I do to help people?’.

– Aurora alumnus Benjamin Mitchell during an Outreach Instagram Live Session

Institutional impact

Aurora is driven by a firm commitment to Indigenous leadership which is demonstrated by a majority Indigenous Board, an Indigenous CEO and Deputy CEO, a majority Indigenous staff and a thriving Indigenous staff network   

“I have set my goal to be the first female Indigenous Prime Minister.” 

– Female Year 8 student and WA HSP participant

“Emerging leaders have the power to create a ripple effect on those around them whether in their local community or to greater scale. Our young ones can only be what they can see. Emerging leaders provide hope and aspiration and educate on new perspectives. They provide new connections where there may be gaps and absolutely need to be supported and nurtured, to stay focused and strong over the longer term.”

– Fiona Jose, Aurora Bursary alumna and the CEO of Cape York Partnership

Wider society

“Education has been described as a vaccination against poverty. However, it is important that resources are not only focused on assisting Indigenous students to meet minimum benchmarks. Programs like Aurora’s are allowing Indigenous students at the school and university level to dream big and exceed expectations. These are the students who will be our future leaders and they are setting new standards for those who will come after them.” 

– Tom Calma, Charlie Perkins Scholarship Trustee

“The internship student I had is now going to Columbia, in the United States, and will study on a scholarship. It has opened many doors for her in a way that was never there before. She lacked confidence. Through this program, we're now seeing her excel. I will be looking at all of the opportunities to take our children into the top 15 payroll jobs that exist in this nation. That's where they will succeed. That's where they will be least expected to succeed.”  

– Ken Wyatt, Minister for Indigenous Affairs