To recognise NAIDOC week (8-15 November), Michelle Penfold, Founder and Director of SAP Australia’s CSR partner, the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF), shares how the AIEF’s partnership with SAP has allowed the organisation to grow.

AIEF students deliver an Acknowledgement of Country

SAP has proudly partnered with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) since 2013, providing scholarship funding for Indigenous students to complete Year 12 or tertiary studies, with career support to help them make a successful transition to employment.

AIEF has been working for over a decade to make a sustained and significant, positive impact on Indigenous education and employment. Established in 2008 in response to community demand from Indigenous families who choose to enrol their children in boarding schools, AIEF has grown from one scholarship student to now supporting over 1,000 young Indigenous people from over 400 communities in every state and territory of Australia.

Volunteering with the AIEF Community

In addition to SAP’s significant financial investment, staff at all levels are personally engaged with AIEF’s work. SAP volunteers across Australia take part in the AIEF Mentor Program, supporting
students through their senior years at school.

“The thing I enjoy most about spending time with my mentor Fiona is that I have the opportunity to get out of the boarding house and experience new activities,” says Maria, an AIEF Scholarship Student who will this year complete Year 12.

“Having someone outside of school and family who can support me is an amazing feeling. It’s nice to learn about her experiences and journey and continue to build our relationship.”

In addition to providing volunteer mentors, SAP also hosts events, workshops and training sessions for AIEF Scholarships Students and Alumni to assist in their professional development as they
transition from school to further studies or the workplace.

Social Sabbatical Success

Through the SAP Social Sabbatical program in 2016, SAP worked alongside AIEF to review the delivery of AIEF Programs to ensure they continue to achieve key strategic outcomes. This review gave AIEF crucial assistance to ensure continued delivery of a high level of support to a rapidly growing network of scholarship graduates. It also helped create a more sustainable delivery model for the program.

One of the results of the social sabbatical is that AIEF now has a team co-located in the SAP Brisbane office. “Since many of our students come from Queensland, one of the recommendations was to open an office in Brisbane in addition to the one we had in Sydney,” explains AIEF Executive Director Andrew Penfold AM.

“The way this has changed our program is a great example of how companies can invest expertise to support non-profits and achieve better outcomes for students.”

Class of 2020

In 2020 AIEF is celebrating over almost 80 students from Partner Schools across Australia who will graduate from high school. Many of the AIEF Scholarship Students graduating this year will be the first in their family to finish Year 12 or to go to university, ultimately becoming role models for future generations.

To read more about SAP ANZ’s CSR programs and partners, visit the SAP Australia homepage

To find out more about NAIDOC week, visit www.naidoc.org.au.