Embracing STEM in education leads to diverse career

This article has photo gallery Published on SBLT Nancy Cotton (author and photographer)

Topic(s): Science, Technology & Innovation

Royal Australian Navy Leading Seaman Marine Technician Candice O’Keefe on the wharf at HMAS Moreton in Brisbane. (photo: SBLT Nanvy Cotton)
Royal Australian Navy Leading Seaman Marine Technician Candice O’Keefe on the wharf at HMAS Moreton in Brisbane.

As we recognise National Science Week across Australia, the Royal Australian Navy, with its diverse roles, stands out in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) space.

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Candice O’Keefe is one of many sailors proudly working in this field.

Leading Seaman O’Keefe joined the Navy in 2008 after being interested in working with machinery and technology from a young age.

Royal Australian Navy Leading Seaman Marine Technician Candice O’Keefe on the wharf at HMAS Moreton in Brisbane.

Royal Australian Navy Leading Seaman Marine Technician Candice O’Keefe on the wharf at HMAS Moreton in Brisbane.

“As a kid, I was always taking things apart, helping my Dad, like the toaster and washing machine,” Leading Seaman O’Keefe said.

“I remember having a tin for all the screws, so I could put it all back together again.

“To be able to do something I love in the Navy is great,” she said.

Navy Marine Technicians are the hands-on specialists within a ship or submarine, looking after systems including propulsion, power generation and auxiliary systems. They also perform a variety of tasks related to their roles in RAN Establishments.

Leading Seaman O’Keefe has served in the former HMAS Success and is currently serving at HMAS Moreton.

She said the highlight of her career so far has been the Commissioning of HMAS Canberra in 2014.

“As a Marine Technician serving in Canberra, I was working alongside Spanish contractors from Navantia getting the ship ready for commissioning.

“To have the opportunity to learn programming for the ship was a task you wouldn’t normally get to do and was a great experience for me,” Leading Seaman O’Keefe said.

As a mother of two young girls, Leading Seaman O’Keefe appreciates the importance of STEM in education.

“As my girls grow up I would be really happy if they take a pathway into STEM subjects at school, but at the moment it’s all about The Wiggles and dancing for them,” she said.

For more information about how STEM can launch a career in the Royal Australian Navy, visit the Defence Jobs Australia website www.defencejobs.gov.au/stem-opportunities.