17 November 2023
Students in the Defence Work Experience Program (DWEP) were hosted by multiple 7th Brigade units as part of Exercise First Look in late October at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera.
The program is designed to provide experience and opportunities for Indigenous students from across the nation who are considering a career in Defence.
The students visited a variety of units, interacting with explosive detection dogs, trying on body armour and receiving static demonstrations on weapons systems.
Command Indigenous Liaison Officer Major Peter Ross said the program was a great opportunity for students and an important step for Defence.
“The exercise provides travel and accommodation for Indigenous youth, 15 to 17 years old, to attend Army work experience, and is supported by the DWEP,” he said.
“Since 2016, the program has been expanded to multiple locations and has been opened up to the whole of Australia.”
Students came from far and wide, including Jabiru, Darwin, the Torres Strait and regional Queensland and NSW.
Part of an initiative by Chief of Army to support the Australian Government’s Closing the Gap strategies, the program gives Indigenous participants the opportunity to see Army as a good choice for employment and equal opportunity.
“The personal development of these children in one week is phenomenal,” Major Ross said.
Deklyn Connor, 16, said the exercise was revealing and made him rethink what he wanted to do if he joined Defence.
“It’s been really beneficial learning more about the corps I was already interested in,” he said.
“Originally I was looking at armoured corps, but now I’m interested in infantry, too, so it’s given me a lot to think about.”