Compared with others of his generation taking a break after school, Royal Australian Navy Gap Year Sailor, Seaman Bailey Henderson has managed to better them all with his recent overseas trip being ‘all expenses paid’.
The Australian Defence Force Gap Year Program gives school leavers an opportunity to experience Navy life for twelve months, and make an informed decision about whether a career in Defence suits them. Throughout the year, recruits cycle through different elements of the Navy, starting with Recruit School and then touring ships and establishments around Australia to help recruits decide what Navy jobs interest them most.
SMN Henderson joined HMAS Gascoyne for the ships north east Asian deployment and has visited Australian ports in Cairns and Darwin, Subic Bay in the Philippines, Busan in Korea and Tokyo and Kure in Japan.
Along the way he has learnt about life at sea in the Navy, contributing to sea-going duties and finding out more of the benefits of a career in the RAN.
“This trip has been better than I could ever imagine,” said SMN Henderson.
He has friends who have travelled overseas after leaving school but none that have had a similar adventure to his.
“Learning about a new career in the Navy, visiting foreign ports and being paid to do it all is such a great experience,” he said.
Other Gap Year sailors from SMN Henderson’s intake are conducting similar sea-going experiences across the fleet to learn about the various roles available in a Navy Career.
One of HMAS Gascoyne’s bridge watchkeepers, Lieutenant Zachary Johnson is a former Gap year participant and pursued Officer Entry via the Australian Defence Force Academy following a positive Navy year in the program.
“My gap year sold me on a career in the Navy, I have been everywhere, have great friends and a great job,” said LEUT Johnson.
Other services have also benefitted from their Gap Year programs.
HMAS Gascoyne Executive Officer, Lieutenant Jason Dawson is proud that his daughter and son have pursued careers in the Australian Army following their participation in the ADF Gap Year Program.
“I think it is a terrific scheme that showcases the best the ADF has to offer’” said LEUT Dawson.