Helping indigenous Australians through education

The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) is a program that connects indigenous high-school students with mentors at their local (or nearest) university. By providing a dynamic educational program that gives students the skills, opportunities, belief and confidence to finish school at the same rate as their non-indigenous peers, AIME has dramatically improved the chances of indigenous kids finishing school. AIME also connects students with further education, training or employment.

AIME looks to move training online

Already successful in the Eastern states of Australia, AIME is set to expand into South Australia and Western Australia in 2013. As the program grows and develops, the need for uniform (and high quality) training for staff is increasing. To date, AIME’s presenters have undertaken face-to-face training with their direct supervisor to prepare for meeting with AIME students. This process is time-consuming, however, and a training program that is smooth, effective, and scalable within the organization, was required. With over 30 presenters working in schools in 2013, AIME needed to move their training online, allowing presenters to prepare, and supervisors to provide feedback, at any point in time.

ThoughtWorks delivers end-to-end training portal within 4 weeks

ThoughtWorks delivered an end-to-end solution for an online training portal, on time and within a pre-determined budget. One day each was given over for set-up and inception, followed by four one-week iterations of build and deploy. AIME were updated regularly, with weekly showcases for key stakeholders. Project maintenance (also known as backlog grooming — a key feature of Agile development) and prioritization were built into the timeline itself, so the project ran smoothly and stayed on track.

The resulting online portal (AIME Training Online) is a central location from which classroom presenters can view training materials, and upload candidate video presentations of their own, for feedback and coaching from their supervisors. AIME employees can use their existing email accounts to access the portal.

What technologies were used?

  • Heroku + Ruby on Rails to provide the online portal web application
  • Google docs to store the training materials
  • Google authentication (OAuth) to achieve single sign-on with AIME's existing Gmail accounts
  • Vimeo to store the candidate presentation videos from the presenters
  • Bitbucket (Git) to store the code

AIME able to train more mentors in less time

AIME Online Training ensures that all presenters can see 'best case' examples of presentations, as well as record their own presentations, upload them, and get feedback on them. This allows the preparation for a session to be online; for AIME to develop an archive of presentations that can be used for further training; and for timely feedback to be given.

This saves everyone time, while also developing a unified training platform that can be rolled out further as AIME expands. Removing the need for face-to-face training speeds up the learning process considerably. In addition, it allows AIME management to endorse presenters for particular classroom sessions, making it easier to see who is best suited for different facets of the program.

With over 60 employees in five states, the AIME Online Training program will transform the way AIME employees prepare for their sessions — sessions that they will deliver to over 2000 young indigenous students.


"Working with ThoughtWorks has been a pleasure. The initial planning session and the development of goals and stories was so impressive, and was a clear way for myself to understand the vision that was in my head, and to take that idea and put it into achievable goals and targets.

The ThoughtWorks team that I worked with were positive about the project from the start and were always welcoming when I turned up to the office to work. The understanding and willingness of the ThoughtWorks team to change and shift when tasks and priorities changed was great, and they were always up to the challenge of a new idea or a new concept.

After four weeks, which included showcases each week, that involved numerous members of the AIME team, we were ready to launch. Myself, and the AIME team, couldn't be happier with the result. It will revolutionise the way we train our staff and presenters, and ensure that we continue to deliver high quality educational programs to 2000+ indigenous kids and 1000+ university mentors across Australia."Drew Higgins,
Operations Manager,
Creative Team, AIME

Get the full case study