A group of twenty young Indigenous leaders will walk through the doors of the Richmond Football Club for the inaugural phase three REAL Program today.

The Tigers’ centre for Indigenous youth, the Korin Gamadji Institute, has partnered with the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC), to expand its Richmond Emerging Aboriginal Leadership (REAL) Program to include a third phase, specifically for program alumni.

The program launched in 2012 with two phases – the first labelled Korin, meaning to grow, and the second called Gamadji, to emerge.

A key element of the third phase is in partnership with the AILC, with participants having the opportunity to take part in the Centre’s accredited Certificate II in Indigenous Leadership course.

Indigenous owned and run, the AILC has enjoyed great success in delivering positive outcomes for its graduates since 2001.

The AILC specialises in place-based education, delivering courses to locations across Australia with flexible teaching models to cater to people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Twenty participants, aged 18 to 21, have been selected to partake in the new phase three program, which includes three four-day camps over the course of six months based at Punt Road Oval.

In addition to completing the certificate, participants will return as peer leaders for other KGI programs, and will also be engaged in the Club’s Dreamtime campaign.

The first program intensive, which begins today, includes cultural based sessions such as a heritage walk and traditional dance, as well as leadership, health and wellbeing and active citizenship seminars.

The 20 participants who have been selected for the program come from various metropolitan and regional areas of Victoria including Wodonga, Langwarrin, Geelong, Mildura, Heidelberg, Nathalia, Kilmore, South Morang, Ballarat, Reservoir and Echuca.

KGI Director Aaron Clark said it marked an exciting new chapter for the Institute.

“Of the 800 participants in our five years of programming, this is the first program we have delivered specifically for alumni,” Clark said.

“Some of these participants came through the doors of the KGI at the age of 14.

“It highlights the constant support we provide to these young people over a number of years, which we know has a far-reaching impact in regards to their overall personal development.”

The REAL Program, which engages students from Year 9 level upwards, supports the development of young Indigenous people, into confident and proud community leaders.

It is overseen by Richmond’s Indigenous Community Relations Officer, Luke Murray, and KGI Program Manager, Thara Brown.

Clark was also delighted to form a partnership with the AILC.

“This is the first time the AILC will be delivering this qualification in a targeted approach for this age group,” Clark said.

“It is exciting to form a partnership with a nationally recognised organisation, especially one with a proven track record in delivering high quality training and qualifications.”

Program partners, the Victorian Electoral Commission and Culture is Life, will be also facilitating sessions throughout the program.

The VEC will highlight the importance of active participation in their communities and the electoral process, and Culture is Life will play an important role celebrating and affirming Indigenous culture through various workshops.