4 July 2012

In celebration of NAIDOC Week this week, International House students from The University of Queensland are joining forces with 16-17 year-old Indigenous youths to increase the number of Indigenous students in tertiary education from just 1.3 per cent.

35 young people will be involved in the Indigenous Youth Leadership Camp (IYLC) being held this week from 2-5 July, 2012 at International House, St Lucia.

They will engage in a variety of personal and professional development activities at The University of Queensland to increase their interest and encourage them to apply for tertiary education at the end of Year 12.

Throughout the course of IYLC, participants will be working to hone their leadership skills, acquaint themselves with the residential and university lifestyle, improve their team work skills, public speaking abilities, and establish strong friendships with current university students.

John Brady, one of the IYLC Leaders from the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, said the advantages behind interactions and camps such as IYLC is that they successfully enticed young Indigenous Youth to tertiary education by showcasing that it was an achievable future for each and every one of them.

“One individual at a time we are encouraging and advocating for greater opportunity and an increase in Indigenous students at university," he said.

"The combination of forming strong relationships with the university mentors and living in the environment ensures that a strong sense of community is established making the transition into tertiary education easier to aspire to,” Mr Brady said.

UQ Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Education) Professor Cindy Shannon said the University was proud to support and encourage programs that would increase the number of Indigenous students and their opportunity to excel at The University of Queensland.

“By interacting with University of Queensland students, the youths begin to understand the opportunities available to them if they consider university as an option,” Professor Shannon said.

The students will hear from a variety of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous leaders in the academic, business and educational sector.

They will also be attending NAIDOC celebrations at Inala, a teamwork-driven sailing trip and Indigenous cooking classes.

Fi Kim, the student organiser from International House (IH) said that students were excited to be able to increase the diversity and cross-cultural understanding of the IH community by encouraging more Indigenous students to IH.

“We have 50 per cent international students and 50 per cent domestic students attending IH.," Ms Kim said.

"Everyone is unique and has a story to tell and with more Indigenous students at IH we can share more of the Australian history and culture.”

For more information about the Indigenous Youth Leadership Camp, go to the website http://www.internationalhouse.uq.edu.au/blog.php

Media contact: Laura Stokes 0406 267 636