The Australian Centre for Student Equity and Success acknowledges Indigenous peoples as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our campuses are situated. With a history spanning 60,000 years as the original educators, Indigenous peoples hold a unique place in Australia. We recognise the importance of their knowledge and culture, and reflect the principles of participation, equity, and cultural respect in our work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future, and consider it an honour to learn from our Indigenous colleagues, partners, and friends.

You are reading: Indigenous university pathways, WIL and the strengthening of aspirations: Robbie’s journey as a learner

Garth Stahl, School of Education, University of Queensland
Sarah McDonald, Education Futures, University of South Australia
Jennifer Stokes, Education Futures, University of South Australia


The underrepresentation of boys from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australian universities continues despite recent gains in widening participation. This article presents a case study documenting the transition of one Indigenous student, Robbie, from an underprivileged school located in the Western suburbs of Sydney to an urban Australian university. We focus first on his experience at university before considering how an opportunity with Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) influenced his confidence and motivation. Central to the analysis is the continual and contentious nature of Robbie’s identity work concerning the opportunities he encounters. In exploring Robbie’s journey as a learner, his experiences compel us to reflect on how facets of his learner identity change in relation to opportunities and what this may mean for how equity programmes provide support for vulnerable learners – specifically how we can improve outcomes for young men from underrepresented backgrounds.

Read the full article on Taylor & Francis Online.