Helping Indigenous youth achieve their goals

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Related ministers and contacts

The Hon Darren Chester MP

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel

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Rachel Tharratt: 0419 034 302

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5 July 2019

THE Australian Defence Force (ADF) and National Rugby League (NRL) have been working together to support young Indigenous Australians to develop skills and achieve their career goals.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel, Darren Chester has launched a video sharing the story of NRL School to Work graduates who are pursuing their career goals in the ADF.

The video showcases the role the NRL is playing in supporting Indigenous students to finish school and transition to employment.

“Since 2012, the NRL School to Work program has supported over 2,000 indigenous students. Thanks to initiatives like this, we are on track to halving the Year 12 attainment gap,” Mr Chester said.

“The NRL School to Work program tackles the gap in school attendance rates as it requires students to maintain an 85 per cent attendance rate at school.

“This is 12 per cent higher than the 73 per cent attendance rate reported in the Closing the Gap Report (2019) for Indigenous students in Year 10.

Defence has been working closely with NRL School to Work to ensure graduates of the program are aware of the breadth of opportunities on offer in the Navy, Army and Air Force.

“Specialist Recruiters are participating in the program, sharing their stories and showing how Indigenous  Australians are encouraged and supported to achieve their goals in the ADF,” Mr Chester said.

“I am proud to see that more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are starting their careers in the ADF. Since 1 July 2018, 7 per cent of permanent recruits have been Indigenous men and women.”

Defence also supports Indigenous youth through Defence Pathway Programs, such as the Indigenous Pre Recruit Program (IPRP), a six-week course which eases new recruits into life in the ADF.

“IPRP enables Indigenous men and women to learn about themselves and life in the ADF together. They’ll support each other, achieve together, and enter their careers with a network of mates who they can rely on,” Mr Chester said.

“Through the Defence Work Experience Program we’ve shown more than 300 Indigenous Australians what life could be like in the Navy, Army and Air Force this financial year.”

Defence remains committed to the implementation of Defence Reconciliation Action Plan 2019 – 2022, which will be released in the coming months and continues to work with strategic partners to engage with community.

Defence currently works with organisations including the NRL School to Work, Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, Clontarf Academy, Girls Academy, and Stars Foundation.

Video is available:


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