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Army December 8, 2011
By Cpl Zenith King
THE number of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islanders in Defence
is on the increase due to specialised
pathways to employment programs
such as the ADF Indigenous Pre-
Recruitment Course (IPRC), which
helps prepare indigenous job seekers
for ADF recruitment.
Since it was launched late in 2008,
28 graduates of the IPRC have accepted
job offers in the ADF, and others are
still progressing through the recruiting
The ADF's senior indigenous
recruitment officer, WO1 Colin Watego,
has been closely involved in the deliv-
ery of the last six IPRCs.
An indigenous soldier himself, with
more than 37 years' experience, WO1
Watego said the program offered an
excellent pathway to a rewarding career.
"It's not about lowering the bar for
entry. It's about giving our young peo-
ple the awareness of what Defence can
offer them and then giving them the
confidence to actually apply," he said.
"When it comes to the ADF recruit-
ing process, the same standards for
entry apply to all Australians. We
encourage and mentor indigenous
applicants through the whole process
and through the IPRC we place them in
a position where they are highly com-
"The IPRC is our flagship recruit-
ing program and it is aimed primarily
at candidates from urban and regional
Indigenous numbers rise
communities, although we have had
several candidates from remote com-
munities experience success on the pro-
A sister initiative, the Defence
Indigenous Development Program, is
aimed at remote and regional communi-
ties and is delivered over eight months.
"Apart from lack of awareness of
what we can offer, I think education has
been one of the major stumbling blocks
that has prevented many Indigenous
Australians from getting into the ADF,"
WO1 Watego said.
"One of the fundamental strengths
of the course is that participants are
given extensive exposure to ADF train-
ing, values and ethos.
"The IPRC is based on the Army
recruit model, so when the candidates
graduate and proceed through the
recruiting process, we have found them
to be strong recruits at each of the train-
ing schools because of their prepara-
Infantryman Pte Dale Blackman,
who did the IPRC in August 2009, com-
pleted Kapooka earlier this year and
said he joined the Army to make his
"My dad is in the police force and
ever since he joined I have always
strived to be like him, he is my inspira-
tion," Pte Blackman said.
"My dad has already made his
family proud and it was time to make
my family proud and I had to think of
something. When my mum suggested I
join the Army I realised this was it, this
was my opportunity.
"The IPRC helped me a lot. It's a
great course to do and learn about Army
life and what is in store for you if you
join. We covered field work, physical
training, marching, living-in with other
people and how to speak confidently to
people with rank.
"When I first went for my recruiting
interview I felt confident about getting
up and talking to the recruiters."
Pte Blackman is on track to graduate
from the School of Inf next March.
For more information on the IPRC go to http://
Incoming: Participants in this year's Indigenous pre-recruitment course meet Governor-General Quentin Bryce in Sydney. Photo by AB David McMahon
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