As the Navy Indigenous Development Program (NIDP) enters its eighth year, 13 current participants and their instructors headed to HMAS Cerberus for a taste of recruit school life. 

Three weeks into their five-month program, the trip gave the NIDP course 17 participants the opportunity to not only see the recruit school, but meet others who have gone before them. 

NIDP instructor Chief Petty Officer Michael Turner said it was great to see recruits from NIDP course15, who he watched graduate, now almost finishing their category training at Cerberus

“As an NIDP instructor, it means a lot to me to see what these young men and women have achieved. It’s a proud moment for me to see them,” Chief Petty Officer Turner said. 

“It’s important for the new recruits to meet NIDP graduates who have been through what they are experiencing and can see the results of their hard work and dedication.” 

The program prepares and develops participants for future careers in civilian or Defence jobs, unlocking their potential and building on their self-confidence and leadership skills. 

Levi Ahfa said being able to see previous NIDP recruits and understand the bigger picture and how the training all fits together was inspiring for him. 

“I was worried about my education but when I spoke with the old recruits, they told me the TAFE course is great. I just need to stay focused and they will help me get me where I need to be.” Mr Ahfa said.

The partnership with TAFE uses a contextualised program that is a maths and English Year 10 alternative, providing them the foundation qualifications to enlist in Defence.  

NIDP is designed to encourage the recruits to push beyond their boundaries, something Elly May Mitchell experienced firsthand. 

“I am not that great with heights and, during my visit to HMAS Cerberus, I stood looking at the rock climbing wall not sure I could climb it,” Ms Mitchell said.

“But I cleared my mind and overcame the fear and heard the encouragement from others, and when I reached the top, I was just so proud."

The graduation ceremony for the current cohort of NIDP will be held in June in Cairns, Queensland.