Community engagement a top priority in the West

Published on LEUT Samantha Dudley (author), LSIS James Whittle (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, Fleet Base West, Defence Force Recruiting, Community Engagement

Students from the School Pathways Group tour the facilities of the Submarine Escape and Rescue Centre during a visit to HMAS Stirling. (photo: LSIS James Whittle)
Students from the School Pathways Group tour the facilities of the Submarine Escape and Rescue Centre during a visit to HMAS Stirling.

HMAS Stirling and Fleet Base West units remain committed to providing a rewarding opportunity for schools, and other organisations, who want to gain a better understanding of ‘all things Navy’.

Six local secondary schools recently visited HMAS Stirling and some of the Fleet Base West resident units as part of the School Pathways Program coordinated by the Navy Community Engagement Program.

Engineering specific units were showcased throughout the visit, with students being provided the opportunity to visit and speak with technical trade officers and sailors from the Fleet Support Unit – West, clearance divers and submariners at the Submarine Escape and Rescue Centre (SERC) and personnel from various sailor categories at the Royal Australian Navy School of Survivability and Ship Safety.

During the visit to SERC, the students took the opportunity to have a look at a decompression chamber, with Petty Officer Clearance Diver Cameron Rae explaining how and when it is used.

Petty Officer Acoustics Warfare Analyst Kevin Murphy showcased and explained the personal safety equipment used during emergency submarine escapes and Petty Officer Communication and Information Systems Simon Hampstead instructed students about the procedures used in training sailors to become submariners.

In addition to the School Pathways Program, ten Defence Force Recruiting submariner candidates were recently given the opportunity to tour Collins Class Submarine HMAS Sheean, as well as other Naval units at HMAS Stirling.

Navy Community Engagement Regional Coordinator, Chief Petty Officer Toni Ralph said that visits to Fleet Base West occurred on a regular basis, with the aim of ensuring that Naval forces in Western Australia remained connected with the local and regional community.

“Ensuring that local and regional communities are aware of what the Navy does is at the top of the Navy Community Engagement Program’s priority list,” said CPO Ralph.

“Visits to Navy bases and ships, or to organisations by naval officers and sailors, allow us to continue to strengthen our links with the community, develop consciousness of the Navy within the Australian community and increase the general public’s understanding of exactly what it is that the Navy does and its role.”

“Of course, it also helps to showcase the large variety of career options available within Defence,” CPO Ralph said. 

Petty Officer Clearance Diver Cameron Rae explains the use of a decompression chamber located at the Submarine Escape and Rescue Centre, to students from the School Pathways Group during a visit to HMAS Stirling.

Petty Officer Clearance Diver Cameron Rae explains the use of a decompression chamber located at the Submarine Escape and Rescue Centre, to students from the School Pathways Group during a visit to HMAS Stirling.

Additional imagery is available at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131108.