For almost 50 years, the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education has advocated for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to access quality education and training services. They believe it is a central tenet in advancing socio-economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Australian Defence Force has a similar commitment to increase Indigenous Australian representation in the Army, Navy and Airforce. Its Regional Education and Development Course is a key strategy to create employment pathways into the Army for students from across the Top End of Australia.
The two organisations have collaborated to make a career as a soldier more attractive to Indigenous Australians.
Participants gain foundational education skills while immersing themselves in a military training for 13 weeks. They are monitored daily by staff from the Institute and the Army. Their performance, progress and wellbeing are assessed fortnightly. As particular challenges emerge students are referred to supports, such as local Aboriginal mentors, dentists, optometrists, psychologists or the Institute’s student services.