The Navy Indigenous Development Program (NIDP) class 18 has celebrated their graduation after five months of hard work and self-discovery.
CAPTION: Graduates of the Navy Indigenous Development Program march on parade at the Early Settler Stadium in Cairns, Queensland. Photo by Leading Seaman Shane Cameron.
The public graduation ceremony at the Early Settler Stadium in Cairns, Queensland, featured a formal parade of the graduates in Navy uniform and traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance performances.
Reviewing officer Commodore Gregory Yorke joined friends, family and the local community to congratulate the NIDP graduates.
Officer in charge of the NIDP Lieutenant Commander Christopher Thornton said the ceremony was a proud moment and a rewarding experience for everyone involved in the program, which is entering its ninth year.
“This program first launched in 2014 and since then more than 300 recruits have graduated, many from far-north Queensland but from other regions as well,” Lieutenant Commander Thornton said.
“The recruits begin as strangers, nervous and not certain what to expect, but at the end they graduate as a team with skills and experiences they’ll never forget.
“Whether they choose to pursue a career in the Australian Defence Force is up to them, but it’s humbling knowing the positive impact the program has had on past recruits.
“Many have gone on to join the Navy and other branches of Defence, while others have gained the confidence to take up studies or pursue other challenging jobs.
“A big part of the NIDP is connecting with culture and that alone can be life changing.”
The graduates leave NIDP with the equivalent of year 10 maths and English, gained through a contextualised TAFE course.
The course provides a pathway to enlist in Defence or confidently pursue other careers.
NIDP currently runs two courses per year in Cairns.