Eleven Indigenous young men and women graduated from Navy Recruit training in one hit on 13 October in front of family, friends and the Chief of Navy.
For Seaman Star Marine Technician Jeff Andrews, the hard work was well worth the effort.
Awarded ‘Recruit of the Intake’ and ‘Sportsperson of the Intake’, Seaman Andrews impressed staff through his exemplary performance, outstanding attitude, his skill at motivating others and in helping fellow Recruits achieve their goals.
“I had several attempts to get into Navy before being accepted by the Defence Indigenous Development Program - Navy," he said.
“I was determined and lucky to be given the opportunity.
“I have a twin brother in the Army who has served eight years. He’s very proud of my achievement and I’m proud of his.
“This sense of direction has been one of the most rewarding feelings,” Seaman Star Andrew said.
The path to enlisting in the Australian Defence Force can be a long one for some.
For the Indigenous graduates of General Entry 346, Emms Division, the journey started in March as they commenced the five month Development Program in Cairns, Queensland, managed by the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School.
On completing the program they applied to remain in the Navy and started initial entry Recruit training on 1 August.
Many chose the program and Navy to become a role model to their family and communities, but for many others in the service they are already delivering on that daily.
Each graduate pointed out that ‘back home’ had limited opportunities; they had jobs, not careers.
Seaman Star Maritime Logistics - Chef Jessica Thompson said that being away from her family was her biggest challenge, but that enlisting with her fellow Development Program participants felt like she was bringing her family with her.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Barrett congratulated the graduates on reaching one of many milestones in their naval careers and shared some advice for their future.
“Do your best, no matter what the task is. The work that we do, at sea and ashore, is rarely easy, often demanding, and potentially dangerous,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.
“You will be well-trained and well-prepared, but to achieve success you will need to dig deep and display determination and endurance.”
To find out more about the program visit: https://www.defence.gov.au/APSCareers/Indigenous/ADF.asp