Lakes Creek Primary School captain Abbey Gull, assisted by participation officer Sarah Law, tests the interactive tools.
Lakes Creek Primary School captain Abbey Gull, assisted by participation officer Sarah Law, tests the interactive tools. Sharyn Oneill

CQU initiative provides experience

ABBEY Gull has two fish, two dogs and two cats. But what she really loves is turtles.

The 12-year-old Lakes Creek State School pupil has already set her sights on university and wants to study marine biology or veterinary science.

Abbey is one of 140 Central Queensland students who have been experiencing "a day in the life of a uni student" through a mobile education trailer operated by CQUniversity.

It's part of an initiative to lift the aspirations of remote, regional, indigenous and low socio-economic students towards higher education.

The CQUniversity Widening Participation team has partnered with all of Queensland's public universities in an effort to meet the objectives of the Bradley Review.

A recent report found indigenous people comprise just 1.09% of university students. The report from Sydney academic Larissa Behrendt said the proportion of Aboriginal students at university must double.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are significantly under-represented in the higher education system, contributing to the high levels of social and economic disadvantage they often experience," the report said.

"Producing graduates qualified to take up professional, academic and leadership positions across community, government and corporate sectors will help to address this disadvantage."

CQ University's Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) Professor Bronwyn Fredericks said the university was well placed to boost the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in all areas of study.

"Increasing the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in all areas of study proportionate to the population is important if we are going to increase the number of indigenous people in professions and decision-making roles in government and industry," Professor Fredericks said.



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