A Monash University report has highlighted the positive impact the innovative Richmond Emerging Aboriginal (REAL) Program is having on Indigenous youth.

For six months, Richmond’s centre for Indigenous youth, the Korin Gamadji Institute, and program partner the Victorian Electoral Commission, worked closely with Monash University to undertake an evaluation of the REAL Program.

The REAL Program has engaged more than 800 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the past five years, providing a unique platform to support the next generation of Indigenous leaders.

The evaluation looked at the impact of the program in relation to a number of areas, including the participants understanding of leadership, cultural affirmation, awareness of career pathways, knowledge of the electoral process and politics.

The report draws from interviews, surveys and focus groups from REAL Program participants and a control group of Indigenous youth who had not participated in the program.

The report revealed that 94% of REAL Program participants were highly confident or confident of their understanding of leadership after the program, compared to 56.2% of the control group.

Throughout Australia, there is a significant employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

The REAL Program provides participants with a broader view of what career options are available to them.

Over 93% of participants agreed or strongly agreed after the program that they understood what was available to them for personal career pathways, compared to 63% of the control group.

During the program a strong focus is placed on the impact of politics.

The report found that 81.8% of participants were confident or very confident that they would vote in State and Federal elections, which was considerably higher than the control group’s 37.6%.

Richmond CEO, Brendon Gale, said the Club was proud to support such an important program.

“The evaluation from Monash University highlights the positive impact the REAL program is making on Indigenous youth, particularly in relation to leadership, active participation and career aspirations,” Gale said.

“We are proud of Richmond’s role in supporting the development of the next generation of Indigenous leaders.”

Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately AM, said the report reaffirmed the program’s success.

“Clearly the VEC’s focus is shaping a positive mindset towards enrolling and voting among Aboriginal youth to enable them to have a voice and recognise the struggle of their elders in this area,” Gately said.

“Now we have evidence that the program is delivering in this area.”