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Australia: Indigenous Defence Trainees Graduate

*Indigenous Defence Trainees Graduate*

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, and Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Mark Arbib, today congratulated 10 young Indigenous Territorians for graduating from a seven month development course.

The Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP)/, operated out of Katherine in the Northern Territory, equips participants with the skills and experiences needed to gain full time employment in their communities or within regional centres of the Northern Territory.

“This is a tremendous program because it increases the trainees’ self confidence, instils pride in them and builds the skills necessary for jobs in Defence and the wider community,” Mr Snowdon said.

The DIDP Participants are from Milingimbi, Numbulwar, Borroloola, Ramingining, Maningrida, Ti Tree, Urapunga (near Hudson Downs), Katherine, and Alice Springs.

“The participants complete at least 17 competencies such as first aid, 4x4 driving skills, and chainsaw operations to achieve a Certificate II in Rural Operations through Charles Darwin University’s Katherine Rural Campus.

“They also undergo an intensive language, literacy and numeracy program provided by Mulga Gidgee Pty Ltd and get involved in various work experiences. The graduation is a significant milestone for participants, their families, the Northern Territory community and the Department of Defence.”

Senator Arbib said the program helps provide young Indigenous Australians with direction and a potential career path.

“Most importantly it provides them with a sense of self-belief,” Senator Arbib said.

“The course has a strong focus on the key skills needed to gain employment and presents a great opportunity to develop future role models for young Indigenous Australians.

“The course in Katherine provided the graduates with an invaluable opportunity to get a taste of life in the Army before they may decide to commence the Defence Force Recruiting process.

“I offer my congratulations to the participants of the program and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

“The Government is committed to these types of training programs as a practical approach to sustainable economic development for Indigenous Australians.”

The Defence Indigenous Development Program is a whole-of-government initiative, funded federally through the Indigenous Employment Program, Workplace English Language and Literacy program and the Defence White Paper.

The 2010 program received more than $1.6 million from the Australian Government and $200,000 from the Northern Territory Government.

This program is part of the Australian Government's commitment to close the gap on Indigenous employment. The Gillard Government has a target of creating more than 100,000 jobs for Indigenous Australians by 2018.

The government has committed more than $750 million over five years to the Indigenous Employment Program, to assist Indigenous Australians into ongoing, sustainable work.


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