Indigenous students pave their own pathways


2,500km might seem a long way to travel to attend a camp, but the twenty-seven Indigenous students who have returned from a seven day personal development course in the Australian wilderness will tell you that their journey with Outward Bound was much more than your regular school camping trip.

Students travelled from as far north as Cairns to attend the challenging, week-long adventure, held in ACT’s Namadgi National Park. The course put the students’ limits to the test and potential on show as part of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation’s (AIEF) Post-School Pathways Program which assists Indigenous students to develop clear career goals and offers work-readiness programs to achieve them.

great group picThe two groups, made up of Year 9, 10 and 11 students from AIEF Partner Schools in New South Wales and Queensland, participated in a Welcome to Country ceremony on their first night on course and completed challenges that align with AIEF’s goals to empower Indigenous children to realise their potential, take responsibility for their own future and develop leadership skills.

Robbie from Marist College Ashgrove said his favourite activity was exploring the ancient boulders of that make up ‘Legoland’.

“I really liked climbing into the small spaces and seeing the big view of the valley,” Robbie said.

“Experiencing something different like that really took me out of my comfort zone."

A ‘Celebration of Achievement’ dinner was held on the final night of the course at the Outward Bound National Base to acknowledge the challenges the students had overcome.

The dinner was attended by AIEF Founder and CEO Andrew Penfold, who said he is impressed by the adventure the students have taken on and hopes they can take home some valuable lessons about team work, leadership and also about themselves.

“At AIEF, we believe that Indigenous children in financial need should have access to some of the leading educational opportunities, companies and providers to pursue productive and fulfilling careers,” said Mr Penfold.

“We identified the Outward Bound program as an opportunity for personal development that helps the students develop the skills needed to define their goals, take on challenges and realise they are capable of much more than they may think.”

red group girls AIEF is a not-for-profit organisation that provides boarding school and residential university college scholarships and offers career pathways to empower marginalised Indigenous children to build a future through quality education and careers.

Outward Bound CEO Darren Black said Outward Bound’s outdoor adventures align with the education goals of AIEF and are crucial for the development of all young Australians so they can discover, develop and achieve their potential.

“The course stretches students mentally and physically, but the challenge helps them grow,” Mr Black said.

“They learn to work together and draw strength from each other to succeed, developing the most positive elements of the human character consistent with our core values of integrity, responsibility, resilience, compassion, service and human potential.

“With the addition of the Outward Bound course to the AIEF Post-School Pathways Program, we are determined to work hard with them to provide important personal development opportunities for marginalised Indigenous children around Australia.”

As the leading provider of outdoor experiential learning programs, Outward Bound Australia has been helping Australian’s realise their potential and leadership abilities for over 50 years and delivers outdoor learning programs to thousands of students every year.

For more information about Outward Bound and their courses, visit

For more information about the work of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, visit

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