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Creative arts student wins coveted AIME top job

Creative arts student lands $170K Co-CEO role for respected Indigenous mentoring agency.

UOW was one of the founding universities for what is now widely recognised as one of the most scalable, cost effective and successful university mentoring programs in the world – the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME).

So it’s probably only fitting that a student from UOW, Marlee Silva, has shrugged off strong national competition to be appointed the first Co-CEO for AIME. The AIME Co-CEO program has been launched to supercharge 10 young Indigenous leaders over the next 10 years – Marlee is the first young leader selected. 

AIME has recently restructured with an innovative approach to company governance. This year, Marlee will undertake an intensive apprenticeship, shadowing AIME’s Founder and CEO, Jack Manning Bancroft, as she learns what it takes to run one of Australia’s most dynamic businesses. 

Over the next 12 months, Marlee will work on key projects such as a three-day art camp for Year 9 AIME students selected to undertake paid Art Internships to design the next range of AIME Apparel, present at Board meetings, negotiate with AIME partners, travel and study abroad, and be mentored by various leaders. 

The Co-CEO position is the complete package with the total value of the wage, learning and development opportunities, mentoring and international training coming in at more than $170,000. 

Jack Manning Bancroft said the Co-CEO program was an incredible opportunity to fast-track a young Indigenous leader, who after 12 months will have the capacity to move into one of AIME’s head office positions, take on a leadership role at one of AIME’s partner organisations, start a company of their own, or maybe do something we haven’t yet imagined.

UOW became the first university outside of Sydney to take on the AIME program in 2008. The dynamic educational program is proven to support Indigenous students through high school and into university, employment or further education at the same rate as all Australian students.

UOW Pro Vice-Chancellor (Inclusion and Outreach) Professor Paul Chandler, who is a founding board member on AIME’s national board, was instrumental in establishing AIME at UOW with Jake Trindorfer.

Professor Chandler said UOW is recognised as the best practice benchmark for AIME programs.

He said the AIME mentoring program has proven to dramatically improve the chances of Indigenous children not only finishing school but provided them with the confidence to then transition to university, TAFE, other tertiary education or full time employment.

Professor Chandler highlighted how AIME runs an Outreach Program where high school students located within two to three hours of the UOW campus visit for a full day, three times a year, in a program designed to break down the barriers between them and the University.

Marlee, who has completed two years of her Bachelor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing)/Bachelor of Arts (Politics) degree deferred it for 12 months to allow her to undertake her current position.

Her first connection to AIME was as a university mentor in her first year (2014), then in 2015 she was employed as a Casual Program Presenter with the UOW team.

She said she was humbled, grateful, inspired , excited  . . . and a little nervous but determined to work as hard as she could in her new role.

“I want to make everybody proud,” she said.

This year AIME is connecting about 6,000 mentees with 1,800 mentors across 37 locations and in partnership with 18 Australian universities. In 2014, 76 per cent of AIME’s 365 Year 12 students transitioned to university, employment of further training. This exceeds the national non-Indigenous rate of 75 per cent of 18-25 year-olds who transitioned to employment and further training and the national Indigenous rate of 40 per cent.

AIME plans to reach 10,000 Indigenous students annually by 2018 and have them finishing school at the same rate as every Australian child.

Posted in Politics and Society
Tagged: Alumni