The Indigenous Pre Recruitment Course (IPRC) recently visited HMAS Albatross as part of its program to introduce participants to the wide range of career choices available in the ADF.
IPRC is designed to prepare Indigenous Australians who have left school for the ADF recruiting process, and has several core elements including literacy and numeracy, leadership, physical fitness, teamwork and self confidence.
While at Albatross the 24 participants, who came from every corner of Australia, were introduced to boot camp Navy style by the Physical Instructors, toured the Parachute Training School and Helicopter Underwater Escape Training facility, and tested their helicopter piloting skills on a flight emulator before moving on to inspect the real thing when 808 Squadron Executive Officer LCDR Dominic Cooper briefed them on the MRH-90 helicopter.
Senior Indigenous Recruitment Officer, WO1 Colin Watego, has been involved with IPRC since 2009 and says the course has several aims.
“First and foremost the participants are at a crossroads, they’re considering the Australian Defence Force as a long term career path and we’re here to help them make that decision, and also to address any issues which may be an obstacle in them getting through the recruiting process, but one of the most important parts of the experience is that IPRC sets them up for any vocation they want to follow - the life skills the discipline, the camaraderie they’re introduced to, puts them in a very good place, especially with the education program we have linked in.
“It’s a holistic program, it’s about self development and these skills will help them be more employable to any job.
“Hopefully most will choose the ADF, but some may decide it’s not for them, and that is also wonderful as they now have a clearer idea about what they want to pursue. I see that as one of the strengths of the program.”
WO1 Watego sees personal growth as another important outcome.
“Every participant will tell you that this course is all about change. I don’t promise them they’ll get into the ADF, that’s not ours to give, but one promise I make to each and every one of them is this, if they stay and finish the program, and 95% of them do, they will be different, and it’s a very positive change. I’ve heard that countless times from graduates of this program.”
IPRC has a high success rate and while at HMAS Albatross WO1 Watego had the chance to catch up with one of the program’s first graduates LS Kristy Brown.
“I first met Kristy at the Indigenous Employment Expo in Nowra on a Thursday and the following Monday she joined the first IPRC in Newcastle and here she is today, recently returned from a six month deployment in the Middle East, working in Fleet Logistics Support and mentoring local primary school children in her spare time. Kristy is definitely one of IPRC’s success stories,” WO1 Watego said.
Additional imagery is available at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130287.