Gap Years get amongst it

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer), ABIS James McDougall (photographer)

Topic(s): Training, HMAS Stirling, Recruitment, HMAS Dechaineux (S76)

ADF Gap Year Students in front of the Helicopter Crash-on-Deck Simulator at School of Survivability and Ships Safety - West on HMAS Stirling. (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
ADF Gap Year Students in front of the Helicopter Crash-on-Deck Simulator at School of Survivability and Ships Safety - West on HMAS Stirling.

Australian Defence Force Gap Year sailors gained vital experience while onboard Western Australian base, HMAS Stirling as part of the 12 month 'try before you buy' program.

The 12 ‘General Duty’ sailors soaked in a jam-packed schedule in the two days with visits to various Fleet Base West units including a taste of combat logistics activities in replenishment ship HMAS Sirius and a snippet of undersea warfare in HMAS Dechaineux.

Navy’s Officer-in-Charge of the Gap Year Lieutenant Commander David Kingdom said the program had been running successfully in its current format since 2016.

“Whilst we actively encourage General Duty sailors to try out a number of different categories before making a decision on their potential Navy career, we have the ability to steer them towards target categories and Primary Qualifications,” Lieutenant Commander Kingdom said.

“Additionally, as graduates of Recruit School they can be placed straight on to category courses, minimising delays in trainee progress.

“General Duty sailors can apply for a transfer of category or Primary Qualifications any time during their Gap Year,” he said.

Speaking from the Stirling gymnasium, Seaman Rebekah Wilson said she had the privilege to explore the different jobs in the Navy.

“This opportunity has been amazing, not many Navy members get to visit so many bases within two weeks.

“We got to visit all the shore establishments including HMA Ships Kuttabul, Creswell, Albatross, Waterhen, Watson and Stirling before heading off to HMAS Cairns.

“It was a great opportunity to experience Navy-life from within before committing.

“You meet the most amazing people and we’ve become a really tight-knit group,” she said.

Seaman Ginger Pingot, who will be posted to Cairns, was looking forward to the next steps.

“We have had heaps of fun, doing things like the over-water obstacle course at Creswell which was amazing,” Seaman Pingot said.

“We get to see what the jobs consist of before we enlist, to get really a good insight on what we want to do.

“We were very lucky to get a tour of the submarine HMAS Dechaineux – which is I understand is a rare occasion, and also learnt practical seamanship skills, similar to that in a Boatswain's Mate course,” she said.

The group will be posted to employment ashore as the next step in the tailored program.