The latest batch of potential police recruits graduated from a readiness program on Monday.
The 10 students graduated from the Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery (IPROWD) training program.
The graduation ceremony was held at TAFE Illawarra’s Bomaderry campus, where the students were presented certificates in front of family and friends.
The graduates Nikitah Wilson, Mitchell Campbell, Steven Poole, Lachlan Watts, Darren Wellington, Korey Studman, Tom Matthews, Alicia Libbis, Tamika Clarke and Kirren Roughley completed 18 weeks of training.
They are from across the region, including Wollongong, Lake Illawarra, Nowra, Culburra and Gerringong.
At the ceremony each graduate gave a presentation about a different aspect of their 18-weeks of training.
Darren Wellington said the course was tough but rewarding. He said it provided students with the insight into what it would be like to be a police officer.
“We learnt a number of different things during the course, including how important teamwork is,” Mr Wellington said.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione was among a number of senior police to join proud family and friends of the Aboriginal men and women as they graduated from the IPROWD program.
Following the graduation, students will be able to join the NSW Police Force, with many aiming for acceptance into the January 2014 intake at the NSW Police Academy.
Commissioner Scipione said some wonderful opportunities lay ahead for the students.
“Since the launch of IPROWD, more than 70 graduates have gone on to become probationary constables or follow other career paths within the NSW Police Force,” the Commissioner said.
“IPROWD is a fantastic program that allows us to come together with Aboriginal communities from across NSW and give people the prerequisites it takes to come and join us.
“They all have to be university students and often they may just fall short of what’s required to get there.
He said the percentage of Aboriginal officers within the NSW Police force was not high enough.
“When I first took on the roll the target in NSW was to have two per cent employment in the force being Aboriginal,” he said.
“I thought that was grossly underdone and immediately doubled that and that is still underdone.
“We have set targets for the NSW Police Force to have 1000 Aboriginal officers within 10 years and we are well on the way to exceeding that,” he said.
“Indigenous officers bring with them understanding and experience of their own culture. They have a blood bond with communities that are so much a part of NSW.
IPROWD started in Dubbo in 2008 to help indigenous Australians to gain entry to the NSW Police Academy.
The program expanded across the state in 2010 as a partnership between TAFE NSW, NSW Police Force and Charles Sturt University.
The students received a Certificate III Vocational and Study Pathways, which meets the entry requirements for the Associate Degree in Policing Practice offered by Charles Sturt University.