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Stuart McGrath (centre), 2021 NT Young Australian of the Year, Yolgnu nurse and communications researcher who was
brought forward through Discovery and selected for the ALERT program in 2007.

 Discovery is a proven language and culture fair spoken and activity-based individual assessment tool. The process gathers information and life experiences relevant to school, training and work in a way that is inclusive, participatory and non-threatening.  Participants are guided through a series of activities demonstrating their current abilities across 16 common learning and work behaviours including motivation, information processing, thinking, reasoning and creativity and are assessed for entry level English literacy and numeracy.  Discovery is taught to an organisation’s own nominated facilitators to implement independently and on an ongoing basis.


Having been associated with the ALERT Program in Northern Territory some years ago and publishing a number of scholarly papers based on it, I am thrilled with this exciting initiative. I wish more people would become aware of the potential of this innovative developmental and enrichment program for Australia.  I commend the design, methodology and the underlying critical assumptions of this new pathway.

Emeritus Professor Samir Ranjan Chatterjee, Curtin Business School, Curtin University

Discovery is needed because there is no language and culture fair individual assessment or recruitment tool that respectfully and consistently measures 16 aptitudes needed for school, training and work.  By gathering the information across 16 aptitudes, organisations from schools to employers can confidently support students, trainees and employees into opportunities that meet the organisation’s requirements and build on the applicants’ strengths and interests.


Organisations have finite resources to assess, teach, recruit and provide support and training. Many organisations and institutions also want to ensure that their practices are inclusive, respectful and equitable irrespective of background and culture. Organisations also often want to engage people local to their business or operation and reflect their clients and customers.

For participants, Discovery gives them the opportunity to present their strengths and skills in a way that ensures equity.  Based on a successful seven-year implementation trial with inhouse delivery, the Discovery tool has been adapted for organisations to deliver themselves.  Organisations are equipped and capable to implement all aspects themselves to complement their existing assessment and/or recruitment and/or evaluation processes.

Discovery was co-designed by Traditional Owners and Elders in northeast Arnhem Land to ensure their young people could demonstrate their experiences in a way that reflected the skills, attributes and aptitudes employers and education institutions recognise, value and manage.  Now it has been successfully implemented in a range of settings in the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Victoria with over 1,100 assessments completed.  For profit businesses, non-profit organisations, social enterprises, universities, Aboriginal Corporations, schools, and shareholder organisations have all used Discovery.


Students as young as 12 years old have completed Discovery and the success from their participation and knowledge of their strengths is for some, the first time they have had such a positive assessment experience.


For organisations, Discovery delivers immediate and long-term benefits, including:

  • an alternative cost-effective fully contained assessment and recruitment tool to add to their existing systems
  • a tool to successfully foster greater diversity and inclusivity in educational institutions and workplace
  • a process that can be used to enable organisational development growth with existing team members better matched to suitable training opportunities
  • training for an organisation’s own nominated team members developing their own skills with the ability to train others from within their organisation
  • a robust and tested methodology to engage with the local community, potential trainees and/or employees and their families
  • a mechanism to foster positive social change.

For participants, Discovery also delivers many benefits, including:

  • building a personal portfolio of a student’s or applicant’s inherent aptitudes and learned skills related to common learning and workplace requirements
  • giving a clear indication of the applicant’s English literacy and basic numeracy in the context of training and/or employment
  • improving a student’s or applicant’s knowledge about their school or organisation where the opportunity is available
  • establishing a good foundation for further conversations by developing a respectful relationship between the participant, facilitator and assessor
  • enabling the applicant to give insights to culture and experiences that maybe new to the institution and/or organisation
  • growing the participant’s confidence and pride.