Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon today met 38 of the Army’s newest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers at the Kangaroo Flats Training Area south of Darwin.
Mr Snowdon said the soldiers were taking part in an induction course to prepare them to be Reserve soldiers in the Army’s North West Mobile Force (NORFORCE), located throughout the Northern Territory and the northern parts of Western Australia.
Thirty of the soldiers are participating in the Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP), which provides trainees with Vocational Education and Training (VET), improved literacy and numeracy skills, and specialised career and lifeskills training.
“The training also includes community services qualifications, first aid, leadership, self esteem, cultural and military training. Encouraging these skills in these men and women has flow on benefits to their families and communities,” Mr Snowdon said.
Training through DIDP, develops and encourages pride and confidence in both traditional culture and the broader Australian culture, while providing skills for a career.
“These soldiers will be given the direction and a great headstart towards becoming role models for young people in their communities. These young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers are continuing a proud legacy of service dating back more than a century to the Boer War and every conflict Australia has participated in since.
“I am aware of the high regard the DIDP is held within the community and am confident the 2013 participants will further enhance the program’s reputation.
“It is heartening to see these young people prepared to push themselves to learn new skills. I know their families will all be proud of them,” Mr Snowdon said.
The DIDP will be held in at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education from 27 May to 13 September. DIDP participants will undertake community studies or trade based VET courses.
Minister Snowdon’s office: Marcus Butler (02) 6277 7820
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999