E-News 15: September 2016
Army First Look special edition

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Focus Edition: Army First Look

The Tamworth Opportunity Hub's partnership with the Australian Defence Force has been in place for a number of years now with 2016 marking the third year that our students will attend Army First Look to explore the many opportunities available in the Australian Army. We thought it was time that we took you on that journey with us, so read on to get the feel for this great experience through the eyes of our students.

In this edition:

  • What is Army First Look?
  • Meet our 2016 students
  • Student expectations
  • Photo Gallery
  • Yarn up with Janine Way
  • Airport delays and taking it all in their stride
  • Student feedback
  • Dates for your diary

What is Army First Look?

Army First Look is an opportunity extended to Aboriginal Students engaged with the Opportunity Hubs to gain exposure to potential career pathways in the Australian Armed Forces.
The 2016 tour visited the Army Logistic Training Centre in the Albury/ Wodonga region and the 'Home of the Australian Soldier' - the Army Recruit Training Centre at Kapooka. In each location, soldiers, trainees and instructors were on hand to discuss the transition to military life and answer questions. The event took students away between the 14 and 17 September. 

The initiative includes an all-expenses paid tour which includes air fares, transport, food and accommodation for participants.

Students take part in a PT session at Albury
The students get a first hand look at an Army training regime 
Meet our 2016 students

With a lot of excitement and a little trepidation, eight Tamworth students from both Tamworth and Oxley High Schools assembled at Tamworth Airport on the morning of 14 September to head off on their first real Army encounter.  The nerves and excitement were not only about the Army experience but for three of the students it was also about to be their first time on a plane.

Accompanied by Tamworth LALC CEO Fiona Snape and Oxley High School AEO Janine Way, the students had a variety of expectations of their experience ranging from "good food and bright people" to "tough training" and "an eye opening experience" (read more about their expectations and aspirations below).

2016 Army First Look students (from L-R) Trinity Allport, Tayla Styman, Ryan Way, Lahkeisha Cook, Georgia Taggart, Ben Kent, Kooriana Boney and Jaydifah Boney.

Student expectations

As we departed from Tamworth we asked the students about their hopes and expectations of the trip. Whilst some of the students were primarily intent on a different experience and a few days out of their usual environment and routine, others had clear aspirations for the trip.

Georgia Taggart told us that she had always had a strong interest in joining the military and would like to have a role in combat and security.  Her expectations of the trip was to see "how everything runs and what life would be like."  In terms of what was in store, Georgia said that she expected to be treated like any other soldier wanting to pursue a career in the Army.

Jaydifah Boney, who is interested in a medical career, was also interested in exploring the opportunities available to her within the Defence Force.  Her expectations were about what she would see - "A huge barracks complex with tons of machinery everywhere, and lots of people wearing Army uniforms and possibly carrying weapons." Jaydifah was also hoping to see some role models that she could connect with - Aboriginal soldiers in a variety of interesting and inspiring roles.

Trinity Allport, who also has a strong interest in an ADF career as a part-time or professional soldier was looking forward to developing his skills over the three day experience.  I expect it will be "a fun and eye-opening experience that will give me a good look into the ADF and help build on team-based skills and leadership skills," Trinity said.


Yarn Up


From the 14 to 17 of September, I had the privilege of attending the Army First Look experience tour with some of my students from Oxley High and Tamworth High School.

The tour was an amazing experience for students and they learnt about what careers are available within the Army as well as the fitness levels required, weapons training, and all aspects of the transition to military life.

Although you have to be mentally tough to get through the training it is a very rewarding career with endless opportunities.

It was great to see first hand such a well organised experience for the students.  In all locations, soldiers, trainees and instructors were on hand to discuss and answer questions that students had.

Airport Delays


The trip to Kapooka wasn't as straight forward as students may have hoped - with their flight from Sydney to Albury having to be turned around and an unexpected night's accommodation in Sydney -, leaving them a day later than expected arriving at the Army training camp.

But the students' behaviour and composure throughout the ordeal would have made all of their families proud.  They took the delays in their stride and some with a smile (!) even as a squad of fire engines followed the returning flight into Sydney airport - according to the captain this was just part of standard procedure for any unexpected turn-arounds.  And not only was the flight postponed to the next day, but when they were then taxied to the wrong motel, the students retrained their composure and sense of humour, making them a pleasure to travel with.

As the accompanying adults on the trip, Fiona Snape and Janine Way were very impressed with each and every student on the trip and the way they handled the delays.  The whole experience confirming that these students not only have a strong vision for their own futures but the coping skills and attitude to tackle any stumbling blocks along the way.

Student feedback

Feedback after the event was very positive.  Students enjoyed the experience and the training with Ryan Way declaring that it was the “one of the best experiences of his life” on his follow up survey.  A number of students remarked on the number of trades that you could do within the Army, indicating that the trip had certainly opened their eyes to more career options than they were expecting.
When asked after the tour if she would join the Army, Georgia Taggart reported “Yes, of course.  The structure, camaraderie and mateship is what I love the most.  It is equal and fair no matter who you are.” 

And Jaydifah Boney is also now very certain that she will join the Army as a medic or doctor – “and to keep fit and mentally strong”.  In fact a number of the students commented on how fit you needed to be and indicated that the trip had motivated them to start improving their own fitness.
Ben Kent, who was unsure of an Army career before the trip but was keeping it as an option, said in his return survey that he was interested in a career in the Infantry. 

Overall, the students came back inspired and motivated and keen to share their experience with friends and family.

Dates for your diary


An Indigenous YOU Recruitment Session will be held in Tamworth at the 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers Barracks on the 12th and 13th of November 2016. YOU sessions allow students to understand their options without any obligation to join the Army. 

2017 ARMY FIRST LOOK - Aug/Sept 2017

Army First Look is an annual event, held around August/September, that is targeted at Indigenous students aged over 15.  The Tamworth Opportunity Hub is offered 10 places on each tour.  Consideration is given not only to students who are interested in a career in the Army but also students who are interested in health careers, vehicle mechanics or other types of trade who may not have considered the Australian Army as an option. Contact the Opportunity Hub at any time to register your interested in taking part in the 2017 Army First Look.

The Tamworth Opportunity Hub coordinates and matches training and career opportunities with Aboriginal students, providing incentives to finish school and transition into sustainable jobs. 

Tamworth Opportunity Hub can be contacted at:
Address: 123 Marius Street, TAMWORTH NSW 2340
Phone: (02) 6766 9028; Fax: (02) 6766 9036
Facebook: Opportunity Hub Tamworth or via the link below

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