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The Australian National University

Business-related studies and Indigenous Australian students

Working Paper 100 / 2015
Boyd Hunter
Peter Radoll
Jerry Schwab
Heather Crawford
Nicholas Biddle
Matthew Gray


Substantial recent growth in the number of Indigenous businesses means that the need for business-related skills in the Indigenous population will be greater than ever. This report reviews the existing literature relating to Indigenous students and business-related studies in Australia, and provides a snapshot of Indigenous students' participation in, and completion of, business-related higher education courses. Data from the Higher Education Statistics Collection are analysed, in conjunction with evidence on labour market outcomes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous graduates from the 2011 Census and the Australian Graduate Survey, to identify examples Keywords: management and commerce, university education, numeracy and literacy, Indigenous business of strategies to engage Indigenous students in business-related courses. This analysis is complemented by extensive consultations with 15 of the 40 institutions involved in providing management and commerce courses in Australian universities. Indigenous support centres are an important factor, as are modes of teaching for the courses in question. A number of universities suggested working with industry to create more employment opportunities and support Indigenous role models in associated occupations (e.g. as is already occurring in the accountancy profession). Given the lack of participation of Indigenous students in enabling courses in this field of study, it is likely that Indigenous students will need to augment their level of proficiency in the basic competencies required for successful completion of their studies.

Keywords: management and commerce, university education, numeracy and literacy, Indigenous business

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Working Paper 100_2015.pdf1.24 MB

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