Birty’s journey as a participant in the Victoria Police Diversity Recruitment Program through to joining Victoria Police in early 2021 is one typified by hard work and perseverance.

“At times it was really challenging and it was so important to have my classmates and teachers to motivate me and each other. When I got accepted into the Victoria Police academy, I couldn’t believe it. It was the most amazing feeling, and I was so proud of all the obstacles I had overcome along the way.”

The Victoria Police Diversity Recruitment Program, run by Jesuit Social Services, Victoria Police, Victoria University Polytechnic and community stakeholders, provides support and guidance to African Australian participants to succeed through each stage of the Victoria Police Recruitment Program.

Participants engage in a 15-week course to build skills and capabilities for success, supporting them to reach their goals. The other aim of the program is to support Victoria Police’s workforce to reflect the cultural diversity of the Victorian community.

Birty says one of her biggest hurdles along the way was passing the push-up component of the fitness test.

“I got myself a personal trainer and was practising push-ups on tables, benches and couches. When I passed, I was so happy, I cried.”

Having graduated from the academy earlier this year, Birty now works in Melton in Melbourne’s west.

The first known female Ethiopian to work as a Victoria Police officer, Birty is a trailblazer and says her parents are extremely proud of her success.

One of her most meaningful moments to date was seeing the positive impact her presence has in the community.

“I attended a job and the lady we visited started crying saying ‘I’ve never seen a police officer who looks like me’. It was really emotional for me and it made me feel so good.”