• Eight Indigenous people, the largest contingent in a group of trainees, embark upon a career in firefighting (NITV)Source: NITV
Eight firefighters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent will graduate to become full-time Fire & Rescue NSW firefighters on Thursday, making the group the largest contingent in a single graduating class.
By
Danny Teece-Johnson

Source:
NITV News
30 Jul 2015 - 5:05 PM  UPDATED 30 Jul 2015 - 6:55 PM

The firefighters are successful participants of a pilot training program with South West Sydney Institute of TAFE Macquarie Fields. 

The Indigenous Fire & Rescue Employment Strategy program is attempting to put a fire in the belly of Indigenous people who are thinking about a career as a firefighter.

NSW Fire Commissioner Greg Mullins said he was proud of the Indigenous graduates and wanted to see more of our mob serve with the Firies.

"To get blackfellas on the ground working in the communities, role modelling for our children what's better than that"

"We're really proud, when I joined it was just blokes like me, white ANglo-Saxon males, and that's how it had been for one hundred years, and we didn't reflect the communities we protect," Mr Mullins said.

"Now we're looking more like the communities when you walk down the road. [Our Indigneous contingent also] bring unique skills to the organisation, and the history and an understanding of country."

On Thursday in front of family and firends eight Indigenous Australia's finest became official firefighters.

Peter Jensen, who graduated at the top of his class and was awarded the prestigious "Silver Axe", said that the Fire Brigade was one big family.

"To get blackfellas on the ground working in the communities, role modelling for our children what's better than that,"Mr Jensen told NITV News. 

"We've come through a lot of training to get this far, it's very difficult. To finally get here and be honoured with the Silver Axe, I'm truly grateful."