The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, and Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Mark Arbib, today congratulated the 12 graduates of the Defence Indigenous Development Program taking part in a graduation parade in Katherine.
“Today’s graduation ceremony saw 12 young Indigenous men graduate the program, each about to embark on their future careers and I am pleased to say, a number of them intend to progress their applications to enlist in the Australian Regular Army,” Mr Snowdon said.
The 12 men have undertaken a seven-month live-in course that aims to provide young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults with the life skills and confidence to secure opportunities and sustain continuous employment of their choice.
“The graduates have undertaken a combination of studies in Language, Literacy, Numeracy and Vocational Education Training that has equipped them with stronger writing, reading and communication skills.”
They also obtained skills in other areas including personal development, healthy living, money management, cross-cultural experiences, team work, parade drills and leadership.
Senator Arbib said the Defence Indigenous Development program was part of the Australian Government’s Indigenous Employment Program, a practical approach to closing the gap for Indigenous Australians.
“The graduates completing their first aid certificates were also awarded a Certificate II in Rural Operations,” Senator Arbib said.
“This training provides the participants with four-wheel driving skills and the ability to operate a computer which allows them to work on construction sites within the Northern Territory.
“The DIDP graduates come from Lajamanu, Gepawiak, Kalano, Amoonguna, Alice Springs, Katherine and Darwin,” he said.
A number of the graduates will continue to serve as reserve members of NORFORCE, one of Army’s Regional Force Surveillance Units while they pursue full-time employment within the civilian sector. Others will continue with their applications to become members of the Australian Regular Army.
Planning and recruitment for a further program in 2012 is under way.
The DIDP is a joint initiative between the Department of Defence, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Northern Terrritory Department of Education.
Alice Plate (Minister Snowdon): 0400 045 999
Sean Sammon (Minister Arbib): 0417 137 419
Defence Media: 02 6127 1999