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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

MoU strives to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians

The University of Canberra (UC) has recommitted to its partnership with the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF), signing on to the mutually beneficial collaboration today.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is the second to be signed by the University, merging resources from both organisations to improve UC student experience and explore research opportunities.

The IMF, directed by former Australian champion marathon runner Robert de Castella, strives for educational outcomes for Indigenous Australians and is underpinned by the importance of physical activity. 

UC’s lead on the collaboration, Associate Lecturer of Sports Management, Stirling Sharpe, said the partnership could benefit up to 150 students each year.

“I think the IMF has a very different business model to what we usually talk about in our classes, which can be really useful,” he said.

“Apart from that just the general work they do is not just focused on sport, but it uses sport as a vehicle in how to develop people and communities.

“To have an organisation like that in Canberra who actively do that each and every day is really useful.”

IMF director Robert de Castella and UC Vice Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon sign the second Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations. Picture: UC Media.

The other two objectives of the initiative will see IMF staff receive professional and corporate development from UC and a collaboration in both UC and IMF events.

Mr Sharpe said the opportunity for IMF guest lecturers, along with internships with the organisation, would add a different aspect to the sports management degree.

“A lot of the academic literature in our space is based on remote populations and we don’t have access to that to get some practical experience,” he said.

“Having Rob and his team here really helps to drive that. It’s just a different avenue of sport for us to look at in the classroom.”

UC signed its first MoU with the organisation in 2017.

IMF director Robert de Castella said education was a vitally important part of the organisation’s programs, which saw a gap in support for young Indigenous adults.

“That age, between 18 and 35, it’s a completely different period in your life. We know early education is really important for laying those foundations and high school is important too,” he said. “It’s really important to also support young men and women as they are becoming significant leaders in their family and community.”

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