For the past 15 weeks NCIE Fitness has been a home away from home for Eora TAFE student Shahna Fairley as she’s been working her way towards applying to join the NSW Police Force.

Shahna, a Walbanga Yuin woman from the south coast of NSW, is one of ten students graduating from the latest Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery (IPROWD) course being delivered at Eora TAFE in Redfern.

Photo: IPROWD students at NCIE Fitness.

IPROWD is a unique, state-wide program that offers training and employment opportunities for young Aboriginal people via a Certificate III in Vocational and Study Pathways which acts as an entry qualification to the NSW Police Academy.

Shahna set her sights on becoming a Police Officer about 10 years ago when she first heard about the IPROWD program through her high school. Now with life and community services experience under her belt she felt better prepared to undertake the IPROWD program.

Photo: Shahna at NCIE Fitness in her IPROWD uniform.

“I’ve made strong new friendships, I’ve learned essentials skills – like how to approach the analytical testing component of the police entrance test – and I’ve spent time with the local Redfern mob both through the program and here at the NCIE,” Shahna said.

Photo: Shahna at her weekly training at NCIE Fitness.

“I’ve loved this place and I am going to miss it when I don’t get to hang around here. Trainers like Rhys and Mel are awesome and knowledgeable and the extra work I’ve done here has helped me with endurance and strength base techniques which will help me in the entrance tests.”

So what now for Shahna? Next on the agenda the day we spoke was a preliminary grip test. Sounds kind of daunting but it’s the reason some women miss out on getting into the police academy. Shahna has been concentrating on building her strength in this area and with the knowledge and techniques imparted by the trainers at NCIE Fitness she is confident she would pass – which she did!

As part of the course, the IPROWD students stayed at the Goulburn Police Academy for a few nights to get a taste of student life. Shahna’s verdict on Goulburn was that it was “unreal and that visit really drove me to to get in and do well in the course.”

Pam Touma the course coordinator and mentor, says not all students travel down the same road as Shahna, with many choosing to first take on different roles within the police force, for example, becoming Aboriginal Liaison Officers, before undertaking the training in Goulburn.

Photo: Shahna with Aunty Pam Touma, IPROWD Co-ordinator and Mentor.

“That’s a good outcome for them and for us too. They gained a qualification and they are continuing on a path to where they want to go,” Pam said.

”With IPROWD and TAFE offering them the support they need to get to where they want to go.

“Every day, I get an opportunity to work with our young people, to help them with their aspirations and goals, and then watch them do what they do to get there, it’s amazing!”

Pam says working in partnership with NCIE Fitness is an integral part of the success of the program, and gives students the chance to get fit as well as, get involved in the local Redfern community.

After saying goodbye to Redfern and Eora TAFE, Shahna continues her path to Goulburn via Dubbo to do a Certificate in Workforce Essentials, then undertaking the extensive entrance tests to be accepted into the Police Academy.

The NCIE is proud to have groups like the IPROWD students at our gym to help them on their chosen paths and we wish Shahna and all the IPROWD mob success on the way forward.

If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about IPROWD please visit Eora TAFE, and express your interest. Dallas Wellington and the team are always happy to have a yarn with you about IPROWD.