News

Helping Indigenous students achieve their potential


29 May 2012

Jack Manning Bancroft: "It doesn't make sense today that an Australian kid who is Indigenous doesn't have the same chances that every other Australian kid has."
Jack Manning Bancroft: "It doesn't make sense today that an Australian kid who is Indigenous doesn't have the same chances that every other Australian kid has."

Jack Manning Bancroft, founder of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) and one of Australia's youngest CEOs, has achieved a great deal since his days at the University of Sydney.

As profiled on ABC TV's Australian Story program, Jack started AIME at the age of 19 while studying a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) in 2005.

Starting with just 25 high school and University of Sydney student pairs, AIME now works with close to 2500 people in partnerships with 75 schools and 10 university campuses across Australia.

"We're seeing now that an Indigenous kid with AIME is almost finishing school now at the same rate as other Australian kids. This is a chance for our uni students to connect and be a part of something bigger and something better," Manning Bancroft told Australian Story.

Manning Bancroft joined the University of Sydney in 2003 as the inaugural recipient of the ANZ Indigenous Scholarship and immersed himself in university life.

While studying, he organised the National Indigenous University Games, was the Indigenous Convenor at the University of Sydney Union, was Indigenous Affairs Officer on the Students' Representative Council, represented the University in the Grade Cricket competition, and founded a reconciliation music festival, 'Indigenous Carnivale'.

He was named New South Wales Young Australian of the Year and won the University of Sydney's Young Alumni Award in 2010.

"When I went along to the Indigenous Uni games that really lit a spark in my mind - this was something that not only should Australia be able to see but also Indigenous kids be able to see that there was, physically, a brighter future in front of them," Manning Bancroft told Australian Story.

"I wanted Indigenous kids to be able see, touch, feel and know somebody that had been to university, somebody that had been successful, and look at an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person and go, 'You know what, I don't need to be just a rugby player or an AFL player, but I can be a doctor, a lawyer, a dentist. I can be a dancer, and that's in front of me.'

"It's pretty humbling to see what AIME has done for a lot of different people. Personally, I think that it doesn't make sense today that an Australian kid who is Indigenous doesn't have the same chances that every other Australian kid has. And until I can see an Australia where that happens, I don't think I'll be happy or satisfied," he said.


Follow University of Sydney Media on Twitter

Media enquiries: Katie Szittner, 02 9351 2261, 0478 316 809, katie.szittner@sydney.edu.au