Preparing young women for leadership roles in the Navy

This article has photo gallery Published on Department of Defence (author), LCPL Sebastian Beurich (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Creswell, Jervis Bay, Australia

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seamen Aaron Scott explains the layout of HMAS Ballarat to participants in the Women in Navy Leadership Camp. (photo: CPL Sebastian Beurich)
Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seamen Aaron Scott explains the layout of HMAS Ballarat to participants in the Women in Navy Leadership Camp.

The Royal Australian Navy has hosted a Defence work experience activity designed to attract future female Navy leaders.

The inaugural Women in Navy Leadership Camp was held at HMAS Creswell, Jervis Bay, from 4-7 April, home of the Royal Australian Naval College.

Twenty-three female secondary school students from across Australia participated in the program which is designed to contribute to Defence’s overall strategy to increase female representation.

Head – Officers’ Initial Training Faculty at the Naval College, Lieutenant Commander Jocelyn Blowfield, said the young women spent time learning some of the qualities and skills needed to be an officer in the Navy.

“The participants underwent a series of team building, time management and leadership exercises that included building their own camp site, obstacle courses, physical fitness tests, theory, drill, and survival at sea. Importantly, they experienced life at sea onboard HMAS Ballarat,” Lieutenant Commander Blowfield said.

Seventeen-year-old Ashleigh Ryan, of Calvary Christian College in Townsville, hopes the camp will be a stepping stone to attending the Australian Defence Force Academy and a career as a naval officer.

“I plan to train as an officer at ADFA when I leave school so I feel privileged to have attended the Camp. I am a Navy Cadet and I think the Camp also gave me some skills to take back to my Unit,” she said.

Sixteen-year-old Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts student, Charlie-Faye Blackstock, said she is keen to experience life as an officer.

“I plan to join the Navy as a logistics officer when I finish school,” she said.

Sixteen–year-old Dante Leydon of Canberra’s Narrabundah College said she’s hoping to follow in her father’s footsteps and join the Navy as an Electrical Engineering Officer.

Seventeen-year-old Elisa Graves from St Mary’s College in Hobart said she enjoyed the Camp and plans to undertake a Gap Year in the Navy and then begin training as an officer.

Participants also got the opportunity to talk with Navy’s officers, who are partway through their initial entry training, about their own experiences in the Royal Australian Navy.