Work experience for future Navy women

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Mick Wheeler (author), ABMT Glenn Oliveiro (photographer), LSML-SC Ernesto Sanchez (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, Australian Clearance Diving Team Four, HMAS Waller (S75), HMAS Launceston (P94)

Students from the Defence Work Experience Program's Women in Navy Leadership Camp visit the Australian Clearance Diving Team Four at HMAS Stirling. (photo: LSML-SC Ernesto Sanchez)
Students from the Defence Work Experience Program's Women in Navy Leadership Camp visit the Australian Clearance Diving Team Four at HMAS Stirling.

Women in Navy Leadership was the focus of a three-day camp at HMAS Stirling as part of the Defence Work Experience Program.

The camp was attended by 20 young women from Years 10, 11 and 12 from a number of schools across Western Australia and Queensland.

Activities were designed to expose the attendees to Navy life but was also an opportunity to meet some of the female leaders that have made a successful career in the Navy.

The activity included visits to Clearance Diving Team Four, the School of Survivability and Ship Safety and the Weapons Training Simulator System.

Opportunity to gain insights into life at sea came with visits to patrol boat, HMAS Launceston and submarine, HMAS Waller as well as a chance to pass the physical fitness test at Stirling gym.

Grace Corboy-Stevens, who attended from Perth College, said she was fascinated by Navy life.

“I particularly enjoyed visiting the diving team and was fascinated by the use of robotic technology in that area,” she said.

"I learned about the camp through my Naval cadet unit TS Perth and this camp has made me think more about being a Maritime Warfare Officer and going to the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.”

Bethanie Carmody from Baldivis Secondary College enjoyed the challenge of the leadership training.

“Having heard about this opportunity from my careers and enterprise teacher, I enjoyed the team building activities and the challenge of standing up in front of large group,” she said.

"I’m interested in submarines so to see one was fantastic.”

The camp was put together by Lieutenant Claire Thurling from Sailors’ Leadership Management Faculty-West who was impressed with the young women and the questions they asked.

“I like putting together a program like this to show young women that the Navy is something they can join and take away many of the barriers that they feel might be there to them joining," Lieutenant Thurling said.

"They have met a number of our impressive female leaders, and they had some very intelligent questions for them about careers in the Navy.”

Gabrielle Rotairo from Pinjarra Senior High School was surprised by how much there was to do in the Navy.

“I thought that your life in the Navy would be quite restricted, but there are many things to do and see," she said.

"I also like the physical activity associated with Navy life and the leadership skills that come with a career in the Navy.

Sarah Kirkbride from Carine Senior High School said her highlight was the physicality of the roles.

“The standouts for me have been the 16km bike ride around Garden Island and entering the smoke-filled compartment.

"I’m thinking about a career in nursing and now have an idea about how that career could happen in the Navy," Miss Kirkbride said.

Work Experience Liason Officer Kym Pajich from Youth and Reserve Division commented that the wide range of Navy activities at Stirling made it a great place for the work experience program.

"The Defence Work Experience Program is a national program, and in this case, we have partnered with Navy to come up with a Women in Navy Leadership Camp at Stirling,” she said.

"The facilities and personnel here have made for an excellent camp, and the exposure that the young women have had to females in Navy leadership was a highlight of the three days.”