Shell Cove father of two Lee Moran is one of 13 Aboriginal South Coast residents enrolled in an innovative TAFE course that provides a pathway to the police force.
Now in its third year, the Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery (IPROWD) program is run statewide and equips participants with the qualifications and skills required to apply for the NSW Police Force.
Police and medical checks, training in first aid and fitness form part of the 18-week Certificate III program which also provides valuable skills in communication, ethics, computers and maths.
Mr Moran, 37, started the program at Nowra TAFE this week and hopes it will help him realise his dream of joining the force.
"My wife is a police officer and I've wanted to join the force for a number of years, to help those in the community and in particular to help other Aboriginal people," he said.
"Being Aboriginal, I know a lot of Aboriginal people shy away from the police and so I want to be involved in helping them and showing them that they needn't be scared of police.
"I hope to be able to speak to other Aboriginal people who find themselves in trouble, and let them know that you can change your path in life."
On completion of the IPROWD program Mr Moran, a self-employed motor mechanic, will receive assistance in his application to the police force along with the other program participants.
The success rate in gaining acceptance into the police academy is pretty good according to Nowra IPROWD co-ordinator Helen Simpson.
In the last two years 44 IPROWD students across the state have been accepted at the Goulburn-based academy, while 72 have gained other employment and 25 have gone on to further training.
"Not everyone who does the program chooses to pursue a career in the police force but they have gained skills that help them get employment elsewhere," Ms Simpson said.
The program, a joint project of the Australian government, TAFE NSW, NSW Police Force and Charles Sturt University, aims to boost the numbers of indigenous Australians in the police force.