Leadership training reaches new realism

Published on LCDR Chloe Wootten (author), LSIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

Location(s): Captains Beach, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Creswell, Royal Australian Naval College

NEOC 48 trainees push off from Captains Beach while undertaking leadership evolutions as part of exercise Matapan. (photo: LSIS Yuri Ramsey)
NEOC 48 trainees push off from Captains Beach while undertaking leadership evolutions as part of exercise Matapan.

Leadership training at the Royal Australian Naval College has been given an overhaul in the past year, delivering scenario-based training that now reflects a work-up in the Fleet.

Lieutenant Commander Steve Delo is the Lead Instructor for Leadership at the Royal Australian Naval College and coordinates exercises across a number of courses that provide fluid situations that require flexible decision-making as well as communication, teamwork and endurance.

“Naval officers are leaders, first and foremost, and it is vital that their training prepares them for life in the Fleet,” he said.

For example, members of the New Entry Officers’ Course undertake four leadership and teamwork assessments during their 20 weeks. Each exercise builds on the previous, moving from team-based activities through to individual leadership under stress and fatigue.

The last exercise, Matapan, has seen the largest changes. The five-day field and sea-going exercise provides the final assessment of the officers’ leadership potential.

Up to 10 serials run concurrently with aircraft and ship support, a complex undertaking, but junior officers now have a better understanding of the role Navy delivers in peace-time.

The trainees are embedded in a disaster-relief scenario, providing a work-up environment similar to what happens in the broader Navy.

The recent iteration was conducted with the assistance the RAN School of Ship Survivability and Sea Safety and a team of dedicated role players, sourced from 816 Squadron.  The exercise operated day and night to increase the realism and learning outcomes for the trainees.
 
During the week, the trainees responded to a simulated vehicle crash, a ‘crash on deck’ requiring fire-fighting and ship damage repair, retrieval of stores from helicopter drops all whilst maintaining security of allocated areas and personnel.

Midshipman Thomas Hagerty leads Midshipman Ethan Turton during a leadership evolution as part of exercise Matapan during New Entry Officers' Course 48.

Midshipman Thomas Hagerty leads Midshipman Ethan Turton during a leadership evolution as part of exercise Matapan during New Entry Officers' Course 48.

Additional imagery is available at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130395.