12 October 2016
The Inaugural Sir Robert Menzies Indigenous Mentoring Fellowship is open for applications as a result of a partnership between the Menzies Foundation and the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS).
MITS opened earlier this year to help students from remote Indigenous communities transition to school and life in Melbourne.
Each year 20 boys and girls will attend Year 7 equivalent at MITS, getting used to life in Melbourne, the study loads and expectations, and each student will aim to progress to a scholarship position at MITS’s Melbourne Partner Schools the following year.
The Menzies Foundation was introduced to MITS by 2013 Menzies scholar in law, David Heaton, who is on the board of MITS.
A proposal to help fund an Indigenous Mentoring Fellow for the MITS students was approved by the Menzies Foundation Board in 2015 in line with the Foundation’s goal of increasing unique scholarship and fellowship opportunities for future leaders and to expand on the Foundation’s long term commitment to improving outcomes for Indigenous people.
MITS Executive Director, Ed Tudor, said MITS has identified Indigenous mentoring and cultural support of its students as being critical to the success of the MITS model.
“Indigenous children must be grounded in their language, customs and culture, whilst supported to develop the skills necessary to walk in the mainstream.
“Each year, one young Indigenous leader will receive the Fellowship, enabling them to provide essential mentoring, peer support, and cultural connection to MITS students on a regular basis throughout the school year, whilst undertaking their own study.
“We’re very excited to be able to partner with the Menzies Foundation to offer the Sir Robert Menzies Indigenous Mentoring Fellowship for the first time.”
Menzies Foundation CEO, Sarah Hardy, said this fellowship was something the Foundation was very proud of. “The Foundation has often stepped in early in the establishment of unique projects which had the potential to have significant benefit for the Australian Community.
“This Fellowship, which carries the Menzies name, will support Indigenous students with the potential to play leadership roles in their communities. We hope to see the benefits of this contribution to the MITS students, helping them extend their education whilst staying connected to culture with the help of their mentor.”
The Menzies Indigenous Mentoring Fellowship will be awarded annually to a young Indigenous person who has experienced first-hand the challenge and reward of transitioning from a remote or regional community to a city school.