Studies indicate that young, at-risk Indigenous girls are the most vulnerable and disadvantaged group in Western Australia. In addition, only around a quarter of full-time Indigenous students continue their education through to grade 12, compared with close to 75 per cent of non-Indigenous students.
A new partnership between Barrick Gold and Role Models Western Australia, an organization which provides assistance and support to remote Indigenous communities, will provide the opportunity for Indigenous girls in the Goldfields region to achieve their best at school, work and sport.
The two-year partnership, officially launched this year, has established the Kalgoorlie Girls Academy, which is targeted at students in grades eight to 12, and aims to increase retention rates for Indigenous girls. The Academy will operate at the local Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community High School and the Eastern Goldfields College. It offers a unique program combining sport with education, workplace training and mentoring to foster leadership and confidence, aimed at encouraging young Indigenous women to continue in education, training and employment.
In addition to financial support to the Academy, Barrick Gold will provide work experience opportunities and leadership programs. Female Barrick Gold employees will offer their time as mentors to the young girls.
Kanowna General Manager Evan Spencer said the mine was proud to be involved in a program for Indigenous girls in the Goldfields. “This program encourages them to ‘go for gold’ and achieve their best in all that they do, whether it be sport, school or work,” said Spencer. “The program’s philosophy is very similar to the way we work at Barrick. We have a culture of encouraging our employees to achieve their best and provide the avenues to help them get there.”
Role Models Western Australia Director Ricky Grace said, “It’s important to us that we partner with organizations that hold similar values to the Academy, which is why we are thrilled to have Barrick on board.”