Leading Seaman Lateika Smith of Nambucca Heads is working to promote indigenous employment in the Australian Defence Forces.
Leading Seaman Lateika Smith of Nambucca Heads is working to promote indigenous employment in the Australian Defence Forces.

Sailor Lateika says hello to new ADF recruitment career

LATEIKA Smith of Nambucca Heads is the fresh young face of indigenous employment in the Australian Defence Forces.

Proud of her heritage and new career role in recruitment, the 26-year-old Navy Leading Seaman identifies culturally with the Gumbaynggirr people and is employed with the careers promotions team at Defence Force Recruiting Centre in Parramatta.

Lateika enlisted into the Royal Australian Navy in 2004.

"My parents are very supportive of what I do," she said.

"I'm continuing in a family military tradition as I have four other extended family members serving in the Navy and my brother is currently at Kapooka doing his recruit training after recently graduating from an ADF Indigenous pre-recruitment course."

Lateika believes indigenous employment disadvantage is a real problem in Australia and is determined to do something about that.

"My current role allows me to contribute by working to increase indigenous numbers in the Australian Defence Force.

"The work is very rewarding as I get to explain why I am proud to be a sailor in the Navy and how other people can join too.

"I especially enjoy engaging with other indigenous Australians about what the Navy can offer."

While Lateika works primarily with mainstream defence recruiting, she also provides advice about defence-specialised pathways to employment programs such as the Indigenous Pre-Recruitment Program (IPRC).

The IPRC is a challenging two-month live-in program that prepares indigenous men and women for the recruiting processes for all the services - Navy, Army or Air Force.

The program is delivered primarily by indigenous positive role models.

To find out more, contact Warrant Officer Class One Colin Watego on 0447 401 185 or at colin.watego@defence.gov.au



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