Defence Force Recruiting Indigenous Specialist Recruiter Warrant Officer Class 2 Shane Cox is the 2018 Australian HR Institute (AHRI) Diversity Champion.
Australian Army member, Warrant Officer Cox received the award at AHRI's annual Awards Dinner in Melbourne on 29 November, where he was recognised as a role model who champions and drives diversity initiatives.
Director General Defence Force Recruiting, Air Commodore Sue McGready said Warrant Officer Cox was a leader among a team of 13 Indigenous specialist recruiters.
"Shane has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates across many regions in New South Wales, including Newcastle, Hunter, North Coast and the Central West. In this time he supported and mentored more than 180 candidates as they began their careers in the Australian Defence Force," she said.
When the Australian Defence Force introduced its Indigenous Specialist Recruitment Team in 2014, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 3.8 per cent of permanent recruits.
Thanks in part to the hard work of individuals like Warrant Officer Cox, this figure has more than doubled. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now represent about 8.8 per cent of recruits into the permanent Australian Defence Force.
Air Commodore McGready said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had served in Defence for more than 100 years and cared for this country for more than 40,000 years.
"The stories and experiences of past and present members are powerful, opening doors to a future workforce. And importantly, they enable continuous improvement, enhancing capability and our community.
"Recruiting rates have been rising since the introduction of Indigenous Pathway Programs, cultural awareness training, and increased promotion of the breadth of opportunities on offer.
"The unprecedented recruitment success is also the result of Elders and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community supporting and encouraging the pursuit of Defence careers.
"Defence offers a career which enables travel, development of new skills, a wide range of experiences, the opportunity to give back to community, all in a supportive environment," Air Commodore McGready said.
Defence works closely with community groups to facilitate experiences for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
"Our Specialist Recruiters are connecting with community, visiting schools, attending careers expos, and running dedicated information sessions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians," Air Commodore McGready said.
"All of these elements come together to better enable the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women to follow in the footsteps of those who served before them and pursue inspiring and fulfilling careers."
For more information about career pathways for Indigenous Australians in the ADF, visit www.defencejobs.gov.au/indigenous.