The Aurora Project

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The ability to 'soak up' the knowledge and experience of the lawyers at SWALSC was a great way of confirming my own career path in native title. The organisation of the program is astounding and really makes you feel like you are part of a promising project.

Katie Driscoll,
placed at South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC)

About TAI

The Aspiration Initiative (TAI) works to increase opportunities and support for Indigenous students, helping to ensure they realise their potential at school, university and beyond.


WA students, January 2013

NSW students, Dec 2011

NSW students, December 2012

The Aurora Project, the Charlie Perkins Trust for Children & Students and the University of Canberra are currently working on a number of education initiatives known collectively as The Aspiration Initiative (TAI).

TAI aims to:

  • better understand why many talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are not going to university directly from school
  • inform Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school and university students of undergraduate and postgraduate pathways at universities in Australia and overseas
  • support and inspire students to excel in their university studies, so that they may be in a position to take advantage of opportunities, such as the many scholarships that are available for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Current TAI projects include:

  • Indigenous scholarship guidebooks - the Indigenous students’ guide to postgraduate scholarships in Australia and overseas (November 2009) and the Indigenous students’ guide to undergraduate scholarships in Australia (August 2011)
  • the Indigenous scholarships website - a website detailing university scholarships for Australian Indigenous students, available at
  • international Indigenous scholarships - scholarship opportunities for Australian Indigenous graduates to study overseas
  • academic enrichment program for Indigenous high school students.  These programs provide intensive ongoing educational and related support during holiday periods and throughout the academic year.

The international scholarship opportunities, Indigenous Scholarships website and academic enrichment program are jointly funded by the Australian Government Department of Education.

Indigenous scholarship guidebooks and website

Financial strain is often the main reason why Indigenous students are deterred from applying to, or excelling at university, and yet many scholarships go unawarded.  Our print and online publications aim to make access to scholarship opportunities easier.

International Indigenous scholarships

TAI provides talented Indigenous Australians with the opportunity to undertake study at overseas institutions.  The Charlie Perkins Scholarship Trust provides funding for postgraduate scholarships to both Oxford and Cambridge universities.  The Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation awards scholarships for postgraduate study at any overseas universities.

Academic enrichment program for Indigenous students

Kinglake Ranges Wilderness Camp, Jan. 2012

To better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students, TAI runs an academic enrichment program for cohorts of 30 students in Year 8 across three states, NSW, Victoria and WA.

Students participate in over 20 days of support per year from Year 8 through to the end of their first year at university. 

The program includes a residential component which is run during school holiday periods and further support throughout the school term.