Inspiring the minds of Derby youth

Eighteen students from Derby District High School were invited to visit RAAF Base Pearce, HMAS Stirling, BAE Systems Australia and two universities as an opportunity to promote careers in the ADF.

CAPTION: Lieutenant Jared Burton provides an overview of the Pilatus PC-21 aircraft to students, Skye Councillor and Jorja Hammond from Derby District High School. Story by Peta Magorian. Photo by Sergeant Gary Dixon.

Derby has an ADF presence with RAAF Base Curtin and the North-West Mobile Force (Norforce) active within the town.

Employment opportunities in Derby and exposure to defence industry roles are limited so an idea was born to provide students with an opportunity that would inspire them to consider the ADF and its industry partners as potential employers.

Derby District High School Principal and Norforce Platoon Commander, Sergeant Eliot Money, discussed options with the Chief Information Officer of Winun Ngari Sonia Tait and RAAF Curtin Site Manager Flight Lieutenant Adam Cornish.

“Many of our students have a propensity for trade and engineering roles and we wanted to come up with another pathway to motivate the students by broadening their career goals and achieving success,” Sergeant Money said.Preview image for asset

CAPTION: BAE Systems employee, Gerard ‘Arnie’ Bull, provides an overview of the No. 79 Squadron ‘Life Support Room’ equipment to the Derby District High School students and Derby District High School Principal and NORFORCE Commanding Officer, Sergeant Eliot Money during a visit to RAAF Base Pearce. Photo by Sergeant Gary Dixon.

The students were required to undergo a vigorous selection process where they submitted an expression of interest and were assessed on their solid school attendance, behaviour and classwork, before being shortlisted for interview.

More than 50 students applied and 18 were selected to attend.

The students were excited as they arrived at RAAF Base Pearce to experience their first full day behind the scenes of the base operations and roles.

CAPTION: Derby District High School students look on as a Pilatus PC-21 aircraft taxis out of the hangar. Photo by Sergeant Gary Dixon.

The team at BAE Systems had set up the hangar with interactive displays and representatives from 2 Expeditionary Health Squadron Detachment Pearce, Joint Military Police Unit, 2 Flying Training School, 79 Squadron and Ventia Fire Services, Ventia Refuellers.

The students were front and centre as they watched both flying squadrons prepare for take-off and taxi out onto the runway before they moved on to see the Hawk 127 simulator.

They then toured the ‘life support room’, where pilots kit up before their flight, and then finished up with a military working dog demonstration at 3 Security Forces Squadron.

One of the students on the camp, Skye Councillor, was grateful for the chance to visit the Defence bases and establishments to see what potential careers were out there.

“I am in year 10 and looking at choosing my electives for a tertiary streaming, so the experience here in Perth has helped me to shape my education focus –  it’s something I would never have had the opportunity to do at home in Derby,” Skye said.

“I would definitely love to be a part of the ADF. I am now very interested in something to do with the Air Force. I feel like there are lots of career opportunities within it.”

Over the following few days, the students visited the BAE Systems shipyard at Henderson and Stirling, where they were in awe of the ships and subsurface vessels and enjoyed further interactive opportunities.

The excursion was the first of its kind in Derby fully funded by Aboriginal Corporation, Winun Ngari.

“Winun Ngari, through Sonia Tait and her team made this possible and the team at BAE Systems got behind the idea, providing the students with fantastic demonstrations of various ADF career opportunities,” Sergeant Money said.

“We hope that the success of this experience will allow us to expand for more students in our remote community to experience what ADF career opportunities are out there.”

CAPTION: Handler Leading Aircraftman Benjamin Tetlaw introduces his Military Working Dog ‘Quade’ to Derby District High School students before an obedience display at 3 Security Forces Squadron, RAAF Base Pearce. Photo by Sergeant Gary Dixon.






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