Recruits from Navy Indigenous Development Program graduate

Published on SBLT Nancy Cotton (author), POIS Nina Fogliani (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Cerberus, VIC

Topic(s): Graduation, Indigenous Pre-Recruit Program, Navy Indigenous Development Program, Diversity and Inclusivity

Graduating recruits from General Entry 384 Rogers Division are also graduates from the Defence Indigenous Development Program. (photo: POIS Nina Fogliani)
Graduating recruits from General Entry 384 Rogers Division are also graduates from the Defence Indigenous Development Program.

Hard work and determination paid off for Recruits from the Navy Indigenous Development Program and Indigenous Pre-Recruit Program as they recently graduated from Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus.  

The pathway programs develop the required academic skills, teach leadership and builds their confidence and physical fitness enabling them to reach the required entry level into the Royal Australian Navy.

The Recruits from the pathway programs along with fellow course mates from General Entry 384 Rogers Division, successfully completed 11 weeks of initial training of Recruit School.

With the Australian Defence Force’s commitment to the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan and the Government’s agreement on Closing the Gap, both programs demonstrate how they are achieving this.

For those recruits who have come through the Navy Indigenous Development Program (NIDP) and now graduated from Recruit School, it has been eight months of determination and commitment.

Seaman Star Cameron Cruz is a long way from the Wadjak tribe and his home in Western Australia, but the impact of the experience has given him the desire to one day become an instructor on the Navy Indigenous Development Program.

“It has been a privilege and honour to join the NIDP program, it has helped me develop the skills to enable me to join the Navy.

“It was very challenging but I have met some great people along the way that will likely be lifelong friends.

“I would recommend the program to any young indigenous adults who can do it,” Seaman Star Cruz said.

Similar stories were shared by Seaman Star Belita Gadd and Seaman Star Aidan Judd, both praising the program for the opportunity it has given them.

“I’m from the Wakka Wakka Nation, Cherbourg Queensland, I’ve never been away from home, it was hard but NIDP really prepared me for recruit school and for what is yet to come.

“I have developed new skills and want to be a role model for my community.

“I want to break the negative cycle that happens in many indigenous communities and prove to people you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it,” Seaman Star Gadd said.

For Seaman Star Aiden Judd he had a great sense of pride to be a fourth generation Defence member.

“I am really proud of what I have achieved, I would highly recommend the program as a pathway into Defence.

“The pandemic has made it more challenging but I still loved all of my training,” Seaman Star Judd said.

There has been an added layer of complexity to the course as the Royal Australian Navy navigates COVID-19 but high standards have remained a priority and the graduates are proof that training can be delivered in a safe and controlled environment. 

Commanding Officer Recruit Training School, Commander Cindy Jenkins has watched her team skilfully adjust to the changing times. Delivering training to over 1000 recruits so far this year.

“It is a great achievement for the recruits, I am proud of them and of my team for remaining focused and adapting to the restriction to continue to meet the training outcomes.

“It is always good to see Recruits who have come through the Indigenous Pathway Programs.

“Many of them have never left their communities so the time spent on the programs and skills they learn coupled with recruit school really provides a solid foundation for their careers in the Navy,” Commander Jenkins said.

For more information about the Indigenous Development Program or Indigenous Pre-Recruit Program the Australian Defence Force offer visit: