4 July 2013 – Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP) trainees, mentors and Australian Defence Force staff work together over two days to transform the local community of Belyuen.
Over the weekend 6 – 7 July 2013, participants of the DIDP will work together with the Australian Defence Force and the local Rotary Club of Belyuen to support key community upgrades to infrastructure. The DIDP participants are contributing to local initiatives that are making a lasting difference to the lives of the people in the community. Peta Fraser, an Angus Knight Mentor adds “I am filled with a sense of pride that I am able to be part of this project with the Australian Defence Force and Rotary. I feel that the trainees will learn a lot from this and will be happy to have contributed to the local community”.
The DIDP has been running since May 2013 and is designed to improve the opportunities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people and make them work ready for employment in the Australian Defence Force or private sector.
The local Rotary Club became involved in the project after having heard from one of the trainees about the program and the value it brought to the communities in which it operates. Trainees, mentors, and Defence Force colleagues will help to regenerate facilities in the local Belyuen community, including repairing and painting local shop amenities, re-building the fuel station and re-establishing the local market garden. A member of the local community, some of whom are members of the trainees’ families, summed up the value of these initiatives, “we do struggle here being a small community, like many in remote Australia, but we keep positive and always looking at ways to make things better for Belyuen.”
The DIDP is scheduled to run until mid-September. The program delivers activities designed to strengthen team work, community participation, resilience, communication, and cooperation. Activities include courses in Community Services, Conservation and Land Management, along with WH&S procedures, financial planning and awareness training in alcohol, drugs, and quit smoking programs. The DIDP Head mentor for NT, Daniel Howard, who works closely with the trainees, sees them as “very talented and hardworking individuals who have a lot of skills offer local businesses”.
The program recently enjoyed a visit from former Olympic Gold Medallist and Young Australian of the Year, Nova Peris OAM, who spent time speaking to the trainees and answering their questions about her own life experiences.
Angus Knight is working on developing broader support for the DIDP program to ensure its outcomes including the good community works of the project are identified and shared.