The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, and Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Mark Arbib, today congratulated the 25 graduates of the Defence Indigenous Development Program taking part in their graduation parade at HMAS Cairns in North Queensland.
“I met with these young adults during the initial stage of their course in Cairns early this year and later again in August during their military training block at HMAS Cerebrus,” Mr Snowdon said.
“It has been a privilege to watch their progress and I congratulate them on their success, a testament to their tenacity and hard work.
“I’m sure many of the participants will become role models within their communities across North Queensland.”
The 25 graduates of the program have undertaken a seven month live-in course which 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.
They have undertaken a combination of studies in Literacy, Numeracy, Year 10 subjects and certificate level studies with TAFE, together with military skills and familiarisation.
The participants are from Injinoo, Hopevale, Seisia, Cooktown, Bamaga, Rocky Point, Weipa, Mossman, Yarrabah, Wonga Beach, Townsville, Hammond Island, Boigu Island, Horn Island, Badu Island and Thursday Island.
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.
“This course is making opportunities available to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across North Queensland providing a variety of career options following their graduation,” Senator Arbib said.
“A number of graduates will continue to serve as reserve members in one of the Army’s Regional Force Surveillance Units - the 51st Battalion, The Far North Queensland Regiment, while they pursue full-time employment within the civilian sector. Other graduates have applied to become full-time members of the Australian Defence Force.”
Mr Snowdon said planning and recruitment for a further program in 2012 was under way.
The DIDP is a joint initiative between the Department of Defence, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Queensland Department of Education through Tropical North Queensland TAFE.
Alice Plate (Minister Snowdon): 0400 045 999
Sean Sammon (Minister Arbib): 0417 137 419
Defence Media: 02 6127 1999