Assistant Minister for Defence - New generation of Indigenous Australians get a feel for military life

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The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

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4 December 2014

A group of 34 Indigenous men and women will today reach a personal and professional milestone when they complete the Defence Indigenous Pre Recruitment Course (IPRC) at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria.

For six weeks participants from all over regional Australia focused on key areas of development including Indigenous and military cultural appreciation; health and life skills; military familiarisation training; language, literacy and numeracy; and career awareness and preparation.

Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert said the course offered sophisticated life skills training in a military environment.

“By the end of the course participants have the skills, knowledge and confidence to apply for full-time careers in the ADF,” Mr Robert said.

“Even those who decide the ADF is not for them will return to their communities as role models with new skills, increased pride and confidence, and will ultimately have a greater chance of getting other work.”

For 18-year-old Celeste Purcell, from Cherbourg in south-east Queensland, the course represented a personal challenge and the opportunity to meet new people.

“I’ve enjoyed the way the course has tested me both physically and emotionally. Hopefully it will help me achieve my goal of working with the ADF as a dog handler,” Ms Purcell said.

Alex Gibson, from Bradbury in New South Wales, said he enjoyed being surrounded by positive role models.

“I wanted to do this course to prove not only to the ADF, but to myself, that I’m up to the challenge and can meet their standards,” the 29-year-old said.

Eligible participants will now undergo assessment testing with Defence Force Recruiting, with successful candidates continuing to be mentored by Indigenous Recruitment Officers until their enlistment with Defence. This is the fourth IPRC to run this year, with courses also hosted in Adelaide and Wagga Wagga.

The IPRC is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. For more information about the Indigenous Pre-Recruitment Course, and 2015 dates, visit:

Media note:

Imagery of course participants is available on the Defence Image Library at:

Media contact:

Richard Briedis (Minister Robert’s Office) 0477 391 174

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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