One of the nation’s most enterprising millennials, Jack Manning Bancroft, will be made an Honorary Doctor of the University of South Australia this week in recognition of his highly successful national program to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
The founder of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) will be the youngest recipient of the award in Australian history.
UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says it is important to break with tradition when encouraging excellence.
“Universities usually recognise people at the very end of their careers with these sorts of awards, but I believe, when young people like Jack show how rapidly they can make such a big difference in the world, the achievement should be celebrated and recognised,” Prof Lloyd says.
A graduate of Sydney and Stanford Universities, Manning Bancroft was a 19 year-old student when he founded AIME as a tiny ‘start-up’ based on the principle that if Aboriginal students had the support of a peer mentor – someone just a little bit older who was on their side, someone who believed in them – they would have a better chance of success.
“In 2005, when he founded AIME, Jack had just 25 university mentors and 25 high school students, but he had a driving passion to succeed,” Prof Lloyd says.
“Today AIME is working with 6,000 mentees and 1,800 mentors across 37 locations and in partnership with 18 Australian universities. We’re proud to be a part of one of the most scalable, cost-effective and successful mentoring programs in the world.
“With a goal to support 10,000 kids a year by 2018, AIME is showing real results; students completing the program are transitioning through high school and into university, employment or further education at the same rate as all Australian students.”
In 2014, 76 percent of AIME’s 365 Year 12 students transitioned to university, employment or further education. This exceeds the national non-Indigenous transition rate of 75 percent for 18-25 year-olds, and the national Indigenous rate of 40 percent.
AIME has continued to innovate and lead the business community since it was founded.
The organisation now employs 100 staff nationally and was voted 9th in the BRW Best Places to Work in Australia in 2015. AIME was a grant recipient of the 2014 Google Impact Challenge and last year launched its own clothing brand, AIME Apparel, to share stories and artworks from talented Indigenous students, which in turn raise funds for the program.
“Jack is a remarkable person and a shining example of someone who has made their vision a reality,” Prof Lloyd says.
“He is an inspiration for all young people who want to change their world and we are delighted to welcome him to the University of South Australia community.”
Jack has been named NSW Young Australian of the Year (2010) and Young People’s Australian Human Rights Medallist (2010).
To ensure that no Indigenous young person gets left behind, the University of South Australia has committed to a further 10 years working with AIME.