A pathway to something bigger

Eighteen new graduates from central Australia, Far North Queensland and Canberra are on their way towards fulfilling careers in the Australian Defence Force courtesy of the Army Indigenous Development Program (AIDP) at Defence Establishment Berrimah, Darwin.

CAPTION: Australian Army recruits from the Army Indigenous Development Program (AIDP) pause for a selfie after marching out from their graduation parade at Defence Establishment Berrimah, Northern Territory. Story by Major Jesse Robilliard and Captain Anna Richardson. All photos by Captain Annie Richardson.

The AIDP is a 17-week program delivering targeted vocational education and training, basic military training and robust physical conditioning to selected personnel in order to prepare suitable candidates for the Army Recruit Course.

Recruit Frederick Campbell, of Alice Springs, said he was already familiar with the Army, with family members serving in Iraq, Vietnam and World War 2.

“My experience on the AIDP was probably a highlight of my life really; like I’ve always wanted to be part of something bigger,” Recruit Campbell said.

“I think it’s just their true honour to be putting on this uniform. I can see that my great-grandfather and grandfather are happy and proud of me, my whole family is messaging me now how proud they are.”

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CAPTIONAustralian Army Recruits Celesta Michaela Sands, Chelsea Thomas, and Billie-Jo Fourmile from the AIDP proudly stand with their Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways at their graduation parade.

Recruit Campbell hopes to be suitable for infantry, armoured corps, combat engineers or anything that takes him to the field with the Australian Army.

Recruit Billie-Jo Fourmile, of the Indigenous community Yarrabah outside Cairns, is already a member of 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment, and said the AIDP has given her a set of positive attributes.

“It’s amazing; we’ve been learning how to be a team amongst each other, learning drills and how to operate, in sections, military skills,” Recruit Fourmile said.

“My favourite part would be just working as a team to get the job done.”

Recruit Fourmile will soon take part in the Army Preconditioning Course and hopes to complete her initial employment training as an ammunition technician and receive a posting to Darwin.

Recruit Isaac Jacques, of Canberra, felt a bit emotional, having completed the AIDP, saying the support he received on the course made the challenging work more manageable.

“I’ve made friends, really close relationships with my fellow recruits; they’re now my family,” Recruit Jacques said.

“Not every day is perfect, but that’s the thing with working as a team. I’m going to miss the AIDP.”

Recruit Jacques will head straight to Kapooka, enlisting as an Army clerk and said he hoped to one day qualify as an Army photographer.

He has this advice for anyone considering the AIDP.

“Go out and just do it. It’s such a great achievement when you finish at the end,” Recruit Jacques said.

“You end up getting the job done as a team.”

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CAPTIONAustralian Army recruits from the AIDP prepare to march out from their graduation parade at Defence Establishment Berrimah, Northern Territory.


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