Program staff lead the way for Indigenous recruits

Published on LEUT Anthony Martin (author), LEUT Dave Devlin (photographer)

Topic(s): Navy Indigenous Development Program, Diversity and Inclusivity

Instructor with the Navy Indigenous Development Program, Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Kyh Mye. (photo: LEUT Dave Devlin)
Instructor with the Navy Indigenous Development Program, Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Kyh Mye.

The Navy Indigenous Development Program is run in Cairns, Queensland, by instructors from the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School.

The Navy Indigenous Development Program (NDIP) was launched in March 2014 and supports the Closing the Gap strategy and Defence Reconciliation Plan (D-RAP) by providing a program designed to assist Indigenous Australians in reaching the required standard to permanently enlist into the Australian Defence Force.

The program develops participants’ Indigenous cultural awareness, physical fitness, military knowledge, personal values and reflective behaviours, as well as improving employability skills through completion of nationally recognised training.

At the end of the program, participants have the option of continuing with an ADF career or returning to civilian life and their communities with new workplace skills.

A key aspect of the training is visiting Navy establishments and ships to provide a comprehensive learning experience for the trainees.

For Recruit School instructor Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Kyh Mye, being part of the NIDP is significant as he has come full circle, joining the Navy through the program in 2010 and now enjoying his role as an instructor.

Leading Seaman Mye joined the Navy 10 years ago and has enjoyed postings to HMA Ships Tobruk, Newcastle and Adelaide.

“It’s great to be in a position to give back to the program and return as an instructor,” he said.

Leading Seaman Mye is striving for advancement and pursuing a future career as an officer in the Royal Australian Navy.

He wants to bring his experience of the program to a bigger audience and work to promote indigenous culture to the navy and the community.

“I am looking forward to influencing the current generation of indigenous sailors and working as a mentor to guide them through their respective careers,” Leading Seaman Mye said.

Another instructor on the program - Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Breanna Jacobs-Rochford - is also keen to hone their skills in the role.

Leading Seaman Jacobs-Rochford sees NIDP as inspirational to the trainees on the program.

“I joined the instructional team earlier this year and I have already learnt so much more about the indigenous culture and my own heritage,” she said.

Leading Seaman Jacobs-Rochford is from Toowoomba and joined the Royal Australian Navy as a direct entry recruit. Prior to taking up her current role, she’d had very little exposure to the NIDP program.

“I am especially proud to work with and support the indigenous women joining the program,” she said.

One of the newest members of the team is Leading Seaman Aviation Technician Aircraft Jerry Dibella, who is excited about his role as an instructor and enjoying his posting to Cairns and working with the indigenous community.

“This is a great job with plenty of rewards and I have learnt so much in a short time,” Leading Seaman Dibella said.

Each candidate undergoes an assessment for selection into the NIDP. Upon acceptance, participants are enlisted as Non Category Specific Entry Recruits for six months.