They come from all walks of life, with a mix of goals but this year's IPROWD students at TAFE NSW Nowra are united on forging careers that will help others.
Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery Program (IPROWD) is a partnership between TAFE NSW, the NSW Police Force, Charles Sturt University and the Australian Government.
The program has been delivered by TAFE NSW since 2008, providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants with a 12-week stretch of learning opportunities that assist in their journey towards a career in the NSW Police or other justice and emergency services agencies.
Among this year's students at TAFE NSW Nowra is Joshua Green, a young man who hopes to use his new skills and qualifications to help reduce the number of young aboriginal people in jails, and to support those who are released to settle back into society.
"I am aiming for a career in an area that allows me to help address those issues."
"When my brother passed away I decided it was time to do something meaningful with my life. I'm not completing this program to tick a box, I know what I want to do. I have wanted to become a police officer since I was a child. I also want to be a good role model for my son.Justin Borges
For student Justin Borges, the timing of the TAFE NSW Nowra IPROWD program coincided with a decision to change direction in his life.
He has lived with mental illness most of his life and has moved between different jobs to help support his young son. However, the recent and tragic death of his brother was the catalyst for change in his life.
"When my brother passed away I decided it was time to do something meaningful with my life," he said.
"I'm not completing this program to tick a box, I know what I want to do. I have wanted to become a Police Officer since I was a child. I also want to be a good role model for my son," he said.
"The determination I have to achieve this is unrivalled, and I do it for my son, my family and my brother.
"I'm proud of myself, this is my biggest achievement," he said.
The IPROWD program is designed to prepare students for the University Certificate in Workforce Essentials (UCWE), the Associate Degree in Policing Practice (ADPP) at the NSW Police Academy, or other study pathways. Course areas include:
- Information Technology
- Writing and Presenting Information
- Ethics and Workplace Responsibilities
- Aboriginal Studies
- An excursion to the NSW Police Academy, Goulburn, NSW
- Support to reach the fitness levels required to meet the NSW Police Force Recruitment standards
TAFE NSW teacher Darien Arthur has taught on the IPROWD program for a number of years. She said she has seen the students benefit from personal growth.
"Students enter the program with questions and they want to strive to make a difference in their communities. We help to clarify a lot of those ideas and ideals," Ms Arthur said.
"I have seen a number of graduates go on to make a positive difference in their communities, including one who is an Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer at Nowra and another who will attest at the NSW Police Academy this year," Ms Arthur said.
South Coast Police District Education and Development Officer Sergeant Charlie Martin has been teaching on the IPROWD program at TAFE NSW Nowra for eight years.
She said in that time she had seen students from varied backgrounds graduate from the program and go on to make a real difference in their lives and their communities.
"I see the growth in the students from week one to week 18 and I couldn't be more proud when I hear they have attested and marched out as Probationary Constables," she said.
"Not all go on to be sworn officers, with some taking up roles in other areas of the NSW Police or Juvenile Justice. We have many other success stories with graduates having a positive impact on their families, friends and communities."