A Gap Year in the tropical north

Published on CPO Anthony Martin (author), LSIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Cairns, QLD

Topic(s): HMAS Cairns, Navy Gap Year

Royal Australian Navy Gap Year Seamen (from left) Beau Malin, Charlotte Menhinick, Chelsea Pratt, Zac Bruce, Sam Rossiter, Elise Jones and Larissa Woosup at HMAS Cairns in Queensland. (photo: LSIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
Royal Australian Navy Gap Year Seamen (from left) Beau Malin, Charlotte Menhinick, Chelsea Pratt, Zac Bruce, Sam Rossiter, Elise Jones and Larissa Woosup at HMAS Cairns in Queensland.

A world of opportunity is on show for a lucky few Navy Gap Year personnel currently serving at HMAS Cairns in North Queensland.

The primary goal of the Gap Year program is to enhance Defence capability while providing a positive experience for young members of the Australian community.

“They are a great group of positive and motivated young people,” said Chief Petty Officer Adrian Profke, the Gap Year Divisional Officer in HMAS Cairns

“Task rotations through Patrol Boat, Hydrographic Ship and base support roles have imparted a wealth of experience to the group,” he said. 

The Navy Gap Year program provides Year 12 school leavers with an alternative to other options such as travelling and temporary work before taking up tertiary or vocational training or other paid employment. The program also offers a 'try before you buy' experience of Navy training and lifestyle for young men and women, without any obligation to serve beyond the 12 month program.

Navy organisers work hard to offer challenging and rewarding workplace experiences within various Navy career streams.

“Those experiences are the same as those undertaken by full-time members of the Navy,” said CPO Profke.

The Gap Year program is broken up into different stages. This provides participants with the opportunity to receive basic training and to tour Navy's different bases.

Gap Year personnel experience life at sea, as well as what it is like to be employed ashore.

“The primary advantage of the Gap Year is that is provides a meaningful experience and participation can contribute to facilitating potential selection for ongoing Permanent or Reserve service in the future,” CPO Profke said.