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Date:November 26, 2020

NT VET Program to Protect Our Borders Wins Australia’s Top Gong

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Left: Frank Marrar and Elaine Tamwoy Right: Student in workshop

A Northern Territory vocational education and training program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
students from the Top End, has been recognised as the best in the nation at the 2020 Australian
Training Awards (ATA).

The top gong for the Industry Collaboration Award was won last Friday by the ‘Regional Force
Surveillance Group – Education and Development Course’ (REDC), a collaboration between Batchelor
Institute and Australian Defence Force (ADF), for the life changing impact it has on students, while
celebrating First Nations culture and allowing Australia to better protect its northern borders.

Alyawarre woman and Batchelor Institute Chairperson, Pat Anderson AO, said REDC students are
remote Army Reservists, who know the land they have grown up on and are best placed to protect it.

Ms Anderson said, “Our course supports students to improve their language, literacy and numeracy
skills, all critical for their job, to set them up for a successful career in the ADF, often on country.”

She added, “Batchelor Institute’s teaching staff support and mentor students to learn specific skills
applicable to their job, so they can then learn how to administer first aid in life threatening situations
such as a snake bite, important in the remote regions where they work.”

“Winning this award is fantastic recognition for the REDC, which had a completion rate of over 84 per
cent last year and has the potential to be replicated in other industries such as mining, agriculture and
emergency services to support First Nations Australians pursue meaningful careers.”

“We have already been approached by other organisations to discuss new collaboration opportunities,
which is extremely exciting and means more jobs for future students,” added Ms Anderson.

Following graduation from REDC, nearly all graduates apply their skills and knowledge as ADF
employees to patrol Australia’s northern borders in the most remote regions of the country.

Many graduates pursue further study and undertake specialised training, such as combat medic, boat
handling, specialist driver, signals, patrol and commander courses.

Ms Anderson said, “Ultimately, we aim to empower our students, so they can determine their own
future, reach their potential, and support their families and communities.”

The REDC helps students to develop pride and confidence in their skills, which often lead to
workplace promotions.

“Some of our students go on to undertake standard defence training as fulltime ADF employees or
gain employment in their local communities,” said Ms Anderson.

“Most REDC students have often faced socio-economic barriers to employment, with English as a
second language, so to see their hard work and dedication to pursue a successful career in inspiring,”
she added.