As a 19-year-old university student, Jack Manning Bancroft realised that education was the key to leading the most disadvantaged kids in Australia – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school kids – out of inequality. He founded AIME, The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, with 25 Indigenous kids in Redfern. Twelve years on, more than 15,000 high school kids and 5,000 university students have been through the AIME program.
In Australia, 75 per cent of non-Indigenous young people between the ages of 18 and 25 are in university, employment or further training – for Indigenous kids, this rate is only 40 per cent. Based at university campuses across Australia, AIME trains university students to become mentors, role models and education heroes to Indigenous school students. It’s now proven that Indigenous kids who complete the AIME program finish school and transition through to university, employment and further training at almost the same rate as every Australian child – effectively closing the gap. AIME now has its sights set on working with 10,000 kids a year by 2018 and helping close the educational gap in Australia forever. In 2017, the model has been launched across the globe.
In Mentoring – The key to a fairer world, Jack and his collaborators – colleagues, mentors, former mentees, and supporters – reflect on the impact AIME has had in Australia, on their lives, the lives of the kids who completed the program and on the opportunities that lie ahead. This collection of essays shows us that it's possible to overcome the impossible, to tear down injustice, to change the world – all through one simple idea.