Eighteen year old Petty Officer Cadet James Knott was ‘out bush’ on an Australian Naval Cadets (ANC) camp near his home base of Mandurah in Western Australia when his Commanding Officer approached him. The CO said that a vacant spot had come up at the ANC National Training Camp at HMAS Cerberus and was he interested?
He was interested alright, however he only had 24 hours to get home, unpack his uniform, wash it, re-pack it and get to the airport for the trip across the continent. Five days later and well into the National Training Camp he had no regrets about dropping everything at home to seize the opportunity.
James and the other 150 camp participants have been experiencing many of the same things that a new recruit into the Royal Australian Navy will also experience when they first join. The camp gives cadets a week of living ‘onboard’ and the opportunity to participate in the gruelling ‘mud run’ that is a part of recruit school life going back decades. Critical skills associated with survival at sea and seamanship are part of the camp. Cadets also learn about the Navy’s small boat handling and firearms requirements at the Boatswain’s School.
For James, it is a world away from the year 12 studies he has just completed at Coodanup College in Mandurah, but it has reaffirmed his interest in taking up a full time career with the Navy next year.
“It’s actually pretty hard to pick out a highlight,” said James.
“The whole week so far has been full of new and interesting activities.
“The Boatswain’s School probably stood out for me and I am thinking of heading down that path or as a marine technician next year.”
The ANC organisation has around 3000 members like James and there are training establishments in every State and Territory.
The ANC is a community-based youth development organisation focused on Defence customs, traditions and values. For more information about ANC activities or to find your nearest unit go to www.navycadets.gov.au