THEY were a proud group and rightly so. Their futures look bright – bright blue.
On Monday, 12 young Aboriginal men and women were welcomed on a path that could lead them to a police career and the confidence to follow their dreams.
Now in its fourth year, the Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery (IPROWD) program is run statewide and equips participants with the qualifications and skills required to apply for the NSW Police Force.
As part of the 18-week program, the students will undertake Certificate III studies that will provide targeted skills in communication, computers, police ethics, essay writing and language skills, maths, first aid and Aboriginal studies, as well focusing on improving their fitness and health.
Among this year’s intake was dancer Michael Hampton from Vincentia who decided it was time for a career change.
After studying ballet, jazz and Aboriginal dance at an academy in Gosford Mr Hampton’s future changed direction this year.
“Dance was a good experience but it was a bit of a risky career choice,” he said.
“My brother is in the process of joining the navy and that inspired me to join the police.
“This IPROWD program is good because it opens doors to other career options as well. I want to challenge myself and in the end I want to be able to help other people,” he said.
Sergeant Charlie Martin is one of the teaching mentors in the program.
This is her third year with IPROWD.
She said many participants were driven by the goal of becoming a police officer. For her it was about helping them build confidence and seeing them graduate.
“There is often a big difference in the students from when they first start to when they finish,” she said.
“They learn new skills which help them feel more confident.
“Seeing them complete the course is very rewarding for me.
“It’s nice to see them get another chance to follow a dream,” she said.