Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 8 2010 Contents INDIgENOUS AFFAIRS
Fourteen participants in the Navy’s Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP-N) have
been recommended to join following the graduation of 25 indigenous youths aged between 17
and 25 in Cairns in October.
By Bronwen Smith
The proceedings included a parade with a formal
drill and inspection, followed by the presentation
of certificates in front of family and friends, DIDP-N
staff and Directorate Indigenous Affairs staff.
The DIDP-N, which helps support the Government’s
Closing The Gap initiative, is implemented under the
Defence Reconciliation Action Plan (DRAP) 2010-
2014, following broad consultation across Defence
and Reconciliation Australia in 2009.
The DRAP provides action plans to implement
employment opportunities and retention initiatives
for indigenous Australians who choose Defence
as their employer. It is managed by the Directorate
of Indigenous Affairs (IA) in the Fairness and
The DIDP-N is a joint initiative between the
Department of Defence, the Queensland Department
of Education and Training and Department of
Education, Employment and Work Place Relations
(DEEWR.) The program prepares trainees for a Navy
career and also in the wider community.
The now-former director of Indigenous Affairs,
Soozie Parker, attended the graduation on her final
day in the job and said the strong support from staff
and the Services were crucial to the success of the
LefT: Graduates march out to the parade ground at TS Endeavour (HMAS Cairns) after having finished seven months of training in a wide variety of skills and trades. cenTRe: 26 young
indigenous Australians paraded at TS Endeavour (HMAS Cairns) to the delight of their families and friends. RIgHT: The first ever group of the RAN’s Indigenous Development Program
after the graduation ceremony.
Photos: Lieutenant Commander Fenn Kemp
“[The highlight] most definitely was the look of
sheer satisfaction and achievement on the faces of
the graduates and the pride of their families.
“The contribution by all parties has been enormous,”
Ms Parker said.
The DIDP-N has been operating since May this year,
providing courses involving numeracy, literacy and
science. The participants from Djarragun College
Wilderness Centre, Gordonvale and Tropical Far
North Queensland Institute of TAFE undertook
courses to assist them with employment.
Participants are now equipped to work in a marine
environment, including boat handling skills,
advanced swimming, first aid qualifications and
lifesaving skills. Participants demonstrated their
teamwork and an aptitude to thrive in a military
environment. Their experiences have developed
their leadership qualities and a personal sense of
Indigenous Affairs Project Officer, Major Mark
Prideaux, established the program. He has learnt
that indigenous youth respond positively when they
are provided firm guidance and understanding of
MAJ Prideaux said that most indigenous Australians
are adept at interpreting non-verbal indicators so
they pick up on dishonest behaviour in an instant,
therefore, to be an effective mentor or trainer, you
must be an authentic person.
MAJ Prideaux, who also attended the graduation,
felt the drill was first class and the salutes were
sharp. He was proud of the staff involved, and
thankful for the commitment from Defence and in
Throughout the program, participants were provided
with practical learning opportunities in a Navy-like
environment. This included a Navy Boot Camp
at HMAS Cerberus, hands-on work experience
at HMAS Cairns, participation on the STS Young
Endeavour from Townsville to Cairns and a Unit
Officer in charge Lieutenant Commander Carol
Pagett said there is a significant benefit to their
“Other young people who can see the success of the
DIDP participants now know there is a chance for
them to reach their goals.
“Defence chiefs will look to their own community
and recognise that as they go out into the world to
make Australia safe they also have to look inwards
into Australia and help to make its people safer and
stronger,” LCDR Pagett said.
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