ELEVEN young students with their eyes firmly on the blue badge have begun their journey at TAFE’s Tamworth college.
They are joining 93 indigenous students across NSW beginning the IPROWD program, helping participants develop the skills and academic qualifications needed for a career in the NSW Police Force.
IPROWD course coordinator for TAFE NSW New England campus, Rachel Webster said she was looking forward to seeing her students thrive under the extensive training, involving studies in computing, police ethics, communication, maths and law.
Ms Webster said there was also a big focus on improving the students’ fitness and health, with intensive training sessions three days a week.
The students will also tour the mounted police and drug squad units in Sydney and part of their studies would be conducted right in the heart of the action at Tamworth Police Station, with two subjects taught by active police and Aboriginal Community Liason officers.
“They really get a good look at what happens inside the NSW Police Force,” Ms Webster said.
The program, which is funded by the the Australian government through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, runs in partnership with TAFE NSW, NSW Police and Charles Sturt University.
The students will graduate in July with a certificate III in vocational and study pathways, and although not all will choose to continue on a policing career path, others will go on to train at the NSW Police Academy in Goulburn.
In fact, five Tamworth graduates of the 2011 and 2012 IPROWD programs began their training at the academy in January.
“They’re loving it and really enjoying the fitness aspect,” Ms Webster said, who remains in contact with the students.
She said the class of 2013 had already bonded, the students taking in visits to the Tamworth Police Station and beginning to get out in the local community.
Ms Webster said she was already of the opinion that some of her students this year would go all the way to the academy.
“Definitely, although it’s hard to know who at this stage, you get some real surprise packages,” she said.
“Those that want it will really strive to get it.”
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the program was a way for the NSW Police Force to assist potential indigenous recruits to reach their goal of joining the force.
“As an organisation the NSW Police Force aims to reflect the community we represent and the IPROWD program is a way to assist our indigenous recruits,” Commissioner Scipione said.