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Indigenous school students take a "thinking path" towards a university career

03 Feb 2015

Wingara Mura Bunga Barrabugu (WMBB) Summer Program participants

As a part of its Wingara Mura Bunga Barrabugu strategy, the Business School has again joined with a number of faculties to deliver the University of Sydney's highly successful Wingara Mura Bunga Barrabugu (WMBB) Summer Program, which this year provided around 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students with potentially life changing insights into course and career opportunities.

The Wingara Mura (A Thinking Path) program, is designed to give younger, year 9 and 10 students an opportunity to explore their educational interests, while the Bunga Barrabugu (To Make Tomorrow) program, allows year 11 and 12 students to look at particular subject areas.

The Business School partnered with the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment to give Wingara Mura students an understanding of the business of taking ‘food from land to brand'.

The students looked at the use of native spices in food products, conducted taste tests and did basic market research. They were helped to analyse the results of the research and develop a basic marketing campaign.

"We know that planning for the future can be daunting, especially when many of these students are not yet sure of what they want to do," said the Business School's Careers Services Manager, Sarah Fletcher. "Wingara Mura gives students the chance to explore their interests, or challenge themselves with something new."

Students in the Bunga Barrabugu (To Make Tomorrow) program worked with Business School academics and student mentors, as well as the Redfern community based organisation, ‘Tribal Warrior', a partner of the Business School's Community Placement Program. Over the course of the week, students gained an understanding of business concepts and experienced an Aboriginal-owned and run enterprise.

The program emphasised basic marketing principles and market research, with a challenge to either improve an existing product offering or launch a new product.

At the end of the week, the students presented their reports to a panel of judges, including Business School academics and Tribal Warrior representatives, and then participated in a graduation ceremony.

"We hope that the students will walk away from this experience with a greater knowledge and understanding about what to expect at university, and from a career in business," said Fletcher.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are under-represented in higher education and the Business School is supporting such initiatives in an attempt to change this fact," she concluded.

The Wingara Mura Bunga Barrabugu Summer Program is a Compass Program, and an integral part of the University-wide strategy to expand Aboriginal education, research and engagement to become part of the core activity of the University of Sydney.