Indigenous Education and Research Centre New and current students Indigenous Peer Assisted Learning (IPAL) Tutoring Program

Indigenous Peer Assisted Learning (IPAL) Tutoring Program

The Indigenous Education and Research Centre (IERC) offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at JCU the Indigenous Peer Assisted Learning (IPAL) tutoring program. Funded by the Australian Federal Government’s National Indigenous Australians Agency, this free program is available to students studying both on and off campus.

The IPAL tutoring program is a proactive way for students to build confidence with their subject content and assessment tasks. This program helps to reduce stress by showing students how to plan their personal schedule to incorporate their additional academic commitments. Want to discover your tutoring options? Check out our "Get a tutor today" section further down this page. Or are you interested in becoming a tutor? Scroll down to "Join the IERC team as a tutor" for information on how to apply.

Our Indigenous Academic Support Advisors strive to match you with an independent peer assisted learning advisor who works with you to build and strengthen your academic capacity and capabilities. This relationship has proven to improve academic outcomes for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in all disciplines across all year levels.


Tutoring is available to all students who identify as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander decent and are
currently enrolled in a course at JCU.

How it works

  1. Indigenous Academic Support Advisors contact the students to discuss their tutoring needs.
  2. Students are then matched with a tutor who has the skills and knowledge in the required discipline area.
  3. Students and tutors choose a suitable session time that fits with their schedules. Weekly sessions are recommended through the duration of their academic calendar.
  4. Tutoring can take place face to face or via zoom throughout the academic weeks and exam preparation periods.

Get a tutor today

Want to connect with someone who understands the challenges and excitement of being a uni student? Get in touch with us today! You can also be part of the tutoring program as both a student and a tutor.

Get in touch with IERC

Join the IERC team as a tutor

Tutors play a crucial role in ensuring our students continue to grow, not just in their passing rates, but in their capacity and confidence to learn. Our tutors' hard work goes towards the IERC producing effective and efficient students with the self determination to go on and be creators and makers of social change. The requirements to become a tutor are:

  • Completion of a degree; or at least two years ahead (in the same discipline) of assigned student(s);
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 5.0; and
  • Have a current Paid or Exemption Blue Card.

WillowSoft serves as our Tutor Registration platform. To get started, please visit the website at and upload your information and documentation, including copies of your educational qualifications and Blue Card. Access to this platform is restricted to IERC staff members. Make sure to review the terms and conditions on the WillowSoft sign-in page before joining the platform. Using the WillowSoft program to book and report on tutoring sessions, we have seen significant improvements for our students such as passed and completion rates of subjects and increased speed of course completions.

If you have any questions or need assistance to create your profile please don't hesitate to contact us. If you have already signed up as a tutor, the login page for existing users is

Discover insights into tutoring outcomes

The IPAL tutoring program has proven to enhance student performance, persistence and autonomy, building confidence in how to learn, not simply what to learn. The data shows that the likelihood of a good GPA is improved when tutoring hours and increased capacity is achieved.

If you would like to read more about developing capabilities through tutoring in an academic environment, we have several articles published by the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Indigenous Education & Strategy, Professor Martin Nakata, and his team.

Click on the below articles to read about "Approaches to the academic preparation and support of Australian Indigenous students for tertiary studies" and "Indigenous undergraduates' use of supplementary tutors: Developing academic capabilities for success in higher education studies".

You can also check out Prof. Nakata’s book "Supporting Indigenous students to succeed at university: A resource for the higher education sector".

How tutoring has helped our students

"The IPAL program has provided a valuable opportunity to review difficult concepts throughout my medical studies, discussing my interpretation and understanding of subject content with a more experienced Indigenous medical student tutor. IPAL tutoring sessions have demonstrated immense benefit toward my academic success, ensuring I am well prepared for exams and can achieve my academic goals. Importantly, IPAL tutoring has substantially improved my academic writing skills, collaborating with my tutor to identify areas for improvement within my assignments and obtain an external perspective to ensure clarity throughout assessment tasks.

Most significantly, utilizing my IPAL tutor has provided me with a senior Indigenous medical student who understands the challenges of university life, providing someone to liaise with when difficulties present throughout the semester, ensuring I can obtain an enjoyable and engaging university learning experience."

Myles Mckenzie

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery

Current Student

IPAL student Myles McKenzie

"I also had a student tutor provided by the IERC which was very beneficial to getting use to the set up of how to study for the university course load and examination structure.

It was also a good way to connect with a student in a higher year level of my degree who could give insight and advise on any questions I had and had a more relatable perspective than if I was to go ask a lecturer."

Ebony Pearson

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery

Current Student

Ebony Pearson.