CEOs & School Principals learn from Indigenous communities to help close the gap

CEOs & School Principals learn from Indigenous communities to help close the gap

Yarning Up is a Bond University initiative that provides corporate and educational leaders with a rare opportunity to experience life in some of Australia’s most remote Indigenous communities. 

For the past six years, the award-winning Yarning Up program has taken more than 30 School Principals and corporate leaders to the remote community of Lockhart River and the Torres Strait Islands. 

The five-day visit provides a unique experience to learn about the challenges faced by Indigenous communities. It allows participants the chance to immerse themselves in the environment, community and cultural heritage of the area they visit, while also meeting people who are spearheading change. 

The program has achieved significant outcomes for the communities including – 

  • Over $1 million in donations to support Indigenous education
  • Establishment of locally owned business enterprises through management support
  • Mentoring and governance partnerships with remote community organisations
  • Introduction of new secondary school scholarships for young Indigenous people
  • Travel and educational opportunities for Lockhart River and Torres Strait Islander students
  • Support to improve transition from primary to secondary school
  • Closer relationships developed between participating schools and the local Indigenous communities
  • Recognition through winning the Premier’s Reconciliation Award and the ATEM Campus Review Award for Excellence in Community Engagement in 2016.

The Yarning Up program gives the senior executives a clear perspective of the educational barriers faced by children in isolated communities as well as the economic challenges the communities face. This helps them to better understand what needs to be achieved to help close the gap for all Australians.

“The trip offered a rare insight for me to gain a deeper understanding of culture and country and what role myself and my company can have in helping others understand. For me it brought home some of the differences we have within our country and why it is important to respect, embrace and appreciate those differences. These differences need to be incorporated into the educational and commercial sector to educate us all and ensure Indigenous Australians have equal opportunity.” Kim van Look, National General Manager – NZ & QLD National Accounts, ISS Facility Services.