Defence Indigenous Development Program - a graduates perspective

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Helen Ward (author), LSIS Nina Fogliani (photographer)

Trainee Seaman Caleb Ober is a graduate of the Defence Indigenous Development Program. He is currently undertaking the Initial Boatswains Course at the Boatswain Faculty at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria. (photo: LSIS Nina Fogliani)
Trainee Seaman Caleb Ober is a graduate of the Defence Indigenous Development Program. He is currently undertaking the Initial Boatswains Course at the Boatswain Faculty at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria.

An innovative program that provides a pathway for Indigenous people from remote communities into Defence is getting top marks from its participants.
 
Seaman Star Caleb Ober is currently undertaking his Boatswains Mate category training at the Boatswains Faculty in HMAS Cerberus after he graduated from the Defence Indigenous Development Program in 2015.
 
Seaman Star Ober grew up in New Mapoon on the tip of Cape York, Queensland, as the youngest in the family with his three sisters and two brothers.
 
“I heard about the program from my cousin who went through the program earlier and it sounded like something I wanted to try,” he said.
 
“There is a fair bit of rivalry in our family as my sister is studying law so she put down a challenge for me. 
 
“I am an average student but really enjoyed the mathematics, English and marine studies.
 
“It would have been hard to be so far from home at first, so it was good to do the program in Cairns.
 
Seaman Star Ober’s family home was on the Torres Strait so he had no trouble passing the Navy’s swim test and is very keen to get some sea time.
 
“I am hoping to get a posting to HMAS Stirling in Western Australia or HMAS Coonawarra in the Northern Territory but I really want to get to sea in the Patrol Boats.
 
“I am telling all my family and friends back home to get involved in the program.
 
"On my course I met up with a cousin I didn’t even know was on the program – it is like one big family," he said.
 
The Defence Indigenous Development Program has been developed in order to address the needs of northern Australia's remote Indigenous peoples. The program provides young Indigenous adults with the education, training, life skills and confidence - and as a result, the opportunities - to secure and sustain continuous employment of their choice and to be role models within their communities.