A GROUP of Aboriginal people from a mix of backgrounds are on a path that for many will lead to a career in the police force.
Now in its third year, the Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery (IPROWD) program is run state wide and equips participants with the qualifications and skills required to apply for the NSW Police Force.
Police and medical checks and training in first aid and fitness form part of the 18-week Certificate three program, which also provides valuable skills in communication, ethics, computers and maths.
Tyson Cloos from Nowra hopes to become a police officer but sees the IPROWD course as a way to gain other experiences as well.
“I want to be involved with the police but this is a good option for learning about other things in life like people skills and becoming more confident,” he said.
On completion of the IPROWD program, participants will receive assistance in their application to the police force.
The success rate in gaining acceptance into the police academy is pretty good, according to Nowra IPROWD co-ordinator Helen Simpson.
In the last two years 44 IPROWD students across the state have been accepted at the Goulburn-based academy, while 72 have gained other employment and 25 have gone on to further training.
“Not everyone who does the program chooses to pursue a career in the police force but they have gained skills that help them get employment elsewhere,” Ms Simpson said.
“Half of the participants in the program at the Nowra campus have, however, gone on to the police academy so that’s a good result.”
The program, a joint project of the Australian Government, TAFE NSW, NSW Police Force and Charles Sturt University, aims to boost the numbers of indigenous Australians in the police force.
“Programs like IPROWD are important as there can be ill feeling between Aboriginal people and police,” Ms Simpson said.
“But if they know someone in their own community who is a police officer then that can change their view, and having good Aboriginal officers can also change views of other police towards indigenous people.”
This year 90 Aboriginal men and women have started the IPROWD program at seven TAFE institutes.