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A fresh approach to indigenous business education

Christopher Bajada (UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Rowan Trayler (UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 2 September 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The social and economic disadvantages confronted by many Indigenous Australians are well known. A close look at Indigenous employment highlights that Indigenous Australians are substantially under-represented in the technical and professional areas of business and management. Closing the gap and improving the social and economic outcomes requires a greater focus in these areas. The purpose of this paper is to outline the design of an innovative undergraduate business degree for Indigenous students that: meets the targets set by government, produces the “T-shaped” graduate expected by business (disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and soft skills), addresses the employment needs of the Indigenous community and provides the building blocks for Indigenous students to enrol in post-graduate business courses. Australians is well known. A close look at Indigenous employment highlights that Indigenous Australians are substantially under-represented in the technical and professional areas of business and management. Closing the gap and improving the social and economic outcomes requires a greater focus in these areas. This paper outlines the design of an innovative undergraduate business degree for Indigenous students that: (i) meets the targets set by government; (ii) produces the “T-shaped” graduate expected by business (disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and soft skills); (iii) addresses the employment needs of the Indigenous community; and (iv) provides the building blocks for Indigenous students to enrol in post-graduate business courses.

Design/methodology/approach

The development of the Bachelor of Business Administration (Indigenous) provided an opportunity to address the needs of Indigenous Australians in a curriculum that is not only interdisciplinary but also taught by indigenous and non-Indigenous academics. The paper outlines how the review was shaped, the innovative mode of delivery and the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum. Administration (Indigenous) provided an opportunity to address the needs of Indigenous Australians in a curriculum that is not only interdisciplinary but also taught by indigenous and non-Indigenous academics.

Findings

This course provides an integrated approach to business education focusing on the professional, technical and managerial roles in business that is in such short supply in Indigenous communities. The course contextualises the study of business within an Indigenous perspective to demonstrate how Indigenous studies not only contributes to empowering the individual but also how business education plays a critical role in repositioning Indigenous people in their local communities and society more broadly empowering the individual but also how business education plays a critical role in repositioning Indigenous people in their local communities and society more broadly.

Originality/value

This paper demonstrates an integrated approach to business education focusing on the professional, technical and managerial roles in business that are in short supply in Indigenous communities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the work of the Bachelor of Business Administration Review Committee, the academic staff who contributed to the review and to Lily Liu and John Elliott who assisted with the artwork.

Citation

Bajada, C. and Trayler, R. (2014), "A fresh approach to indigenous business education", Education + Training, Vol. 56 No. 7, pp. 613-634. https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-07-2014-0079

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited