Remote towns around Western Australia’s Pilbara region have benefitted from a national program addressing the educational needs of young Aboriginal students, boosting school attendance rates, employment, and acceptance into university and TAFE courses.
The Follow The Dream (FTD) project developed by the Graham Polly Farmer Foundation provides academic enrichment for Aboriginal students who volunteer to attend after-school specialist tutoring, mentoring, career advice and pastoral support.
School attendance rates by students who attend the program in the remote towns of Newman and Tom Price are year-on-year consistently higher than for other students, the Western Australia Department of Education has confirmed.
Students participating in the program are encouraged to aim high.
The school attendance rate is 88 per cent — compared to 67 per cent for all Aboriginal students — their attainment rate is 90 per cent, and they are up to 60 per cent more likely to achieve a Western Australian Certificate of Education.
In 2017, 35 per cent of FTD students went to university, 20 per cent gained an apprenticeship or traineeship, 25 per cent moved into direct employment, and 8 per cent went to TAFE.