Indigenous communities and the Navy are both benefiting from the Navy Indigenous Development Program (NDIP).

Run in Cairns by instructors from the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School, the NDIP was launched in March 2014.

The program supports the Closing the Gap strategy and Defence Reconciliation Plan (D-RAP) to assist Indigenous Australians in reaching the required standard to permanently enlist in the Australian Defence Force.

It does this by developing participants’ Indigenous cultural awareness, physical fitness, military knowledge, personal values and reflective behaviours, as well as improving employability skills through completion of nationally recognised training.

At the end of the program, participants have the option of continuing with an ADF career or returning to civilian life and their communities with new workplace skills.

A key aspect of the training is visiting Navy establishments and ships to provide a comprehensive learning experience for the trainees.

Recruit School instructor Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Kyh Mye has come full circle.

He joined the Navy through the program in 2010 and is now enjoying his role as an NDIP instructor after postings to HMA Ships Tobruk, Newcastle and Adelaide.

“It’s great to be in a position to give back to the program and return as an instructor,” he said.

Leading Seaman Mye is now pursuing a future career as an officer.

It’s great to be in a position to give back to the program and return as an instructor.

He wants to bring his experience of the program to a bigger audience and work to promote Indigenous culture in the Navy and the community.

“I am looking forward to influencing the current generation of Indigenous sailors and working as a mentor to guide them through their respective careers,” Leading Seaman Mye said.

Another instructor on the program - Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Breanna Jacobs-Rochford - is also keen to hone her skills.

Leading Seaman Jacobs-Rochford said NIDP was inspirational to the trainees on the program.

“I joined the instructional team earlier this year and I have already learnt so much more about Indigenous culture and my own heritage,” she said.

Leading Seaman Jacobs-Rochford, who is from Toowoomba, joined the Navy as a direct entry recruit. Before taking up her current role, she’d had very little exposure to the NIDP program.

“I am especially proud to work with and support the Indigenous women joining the program,” she said.

One of the newest members of the team is Leading Seaman Aviation Technician Aircraft Jerry Dibella, who is excited about his role as an instructor and enjoying his posting to Cairns and working with the Indigenous community.

“This is a great job with plenty of rewards and I have learnt so much in a short time,” Leading Seaman Dibella said.

Each candidate undergoes an assessment for selection into the NIDP. Upon acceptance, participants are enlisted as Non Category Specific Entry Recruits for six months.