Aspriring to expand horizons

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Commanding Officer HMAS Sydney, Commander Karl Brinckmann, RAN, welcomes children from Banksia Road Primary School, as they cross the gangway onto HMAS Sydney for an excursion, as part of the Navy Inspire Program. (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
Commanding Officer HMAS Sydney, Commander Karl Brinckmann, RAN, welcomes children from Banksia Road Primary School, as they cross the gangway onto HMAS Sydney for an excursion, as part of the Navy Inspire Program.

An excited group of primary school kids from Banksia Road Primary School in Greenacre, New South Wales, recently had the chance to explore HMAS Sydney as part of the Aspire Role Models Program.

The kids, aged between nine and 12 years of age, spent the morning on the Adelaide class frigate, learning about life in the Navy.

Brian Perrett, Assistant Principal at the school said the visit was all about showing the kids possible pathways in the future.

“Today’s visit is part of the Aspire program, where we try and let our kids see things beyond the confines of Greenacre,” Mr Perrett said.

“This gives our kids a chance to see other opportunities out there, in particular, what women are doing, to hopefully inspire them to aim high and see things they may like to do in later life.”

Lieutenant Dianne Garbutt, shows Bankstown's Banksia Road Primary School students the aft repair base on HMAS Sydney, during an excursion as part of the Navy Inspire Program.

Lieutenant Dianne Garbutt, shows Bankstown's Banksia Road Primary School students the aft repair base on HMAS Sydney, during an excursion as part of the Navy Inspire Program.

Before the visit to Garden Island, the students had limited experience of the Australian Defence Force.

“Part of our curriculum includes Australia’s involvement in overseas conflict over various periods, but their knowledge of Navy is very limited,” Mr Perrett said.

“On the bus, the kids were very excited when we explained they were going on a warship and were particularly interested in seeing where sailors eat and sleep.”

Captain Mona Shindy, Chief of Navy’s Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs, joined the students for the tour and shared her experiences as a former Deputy Weapons Electrical Engineer Officer onboard Sydney.  

She says giving kids from different backgrounds exposure to Navy broadens their horizons.

“Today’s visit has given these young kids a chance to see things that they could perhaps do in the future, that they may not have envisaged.

"The more we can get the information out to diverse communities, the greater the appreciation they’ll have of what our Navy does, the service Navy provides to our nation and the types of technologies that are on our ships.

“If one day they decide to pursue a career with Navy, this benefits our organisation by enhancing our effectiveness and capability, by allowing us to make better decisions based on the contributions of people with different histories, views and ways of understanding life,” Captain Shindy said.

“From the smiles on the kids faces today on the bus, I can tell they are absolutely thrilled and incredibly excited to visit.”