Hundreds of students from schools throughout the Shoalhaven visit HMAS Albatross every year to participate in a wide range of vocational programs.
Chief Petty Officer Glenn Smith of Training Authority Aviation (TAAVN), who coordinates work experience at the base, as well as the more aviation focussed Long-Look program, says that Albatross offers the students a range of experiences.
“For some it’s simply a day off school and the opportunity to see some Navy helicopters, which is fine because they still leave knowing more about the role Defence plays in their home town. For others, it might be the launch of a long and rewarding career.
“Most of the students who are really focussed on a career in naval aviation will eventually participate in ‘LongLook’,” CPO Smith said.
“The program commences in terms one and two with ‘QuickLook,’ in which students get a basic overview of the careers available. Those with a genuine interest come back for ‘NextStep’ in term three, and learn about leadership and team building, how to write job applications and interview techniques.
“Term four is when the Long-Look phase commences and students wishing to participate must apply through a letter of application demonstrating their commitment, aptitude and enthusiasm.”
Seven students were accepted in 2013 and have been participating in an intensive aviation program once a week.
This week, the students were joined by Midshipmen Dylan Hush and Joel Bulley, who provided very real evidence of the benefits of the program.
The two Midshipmen completed the program in 2009 and are now studying at the Australian Defence Force Academy where Dylan is pursuing his ambition of becoming a Royal Australian Navy Pilot, while Joel has set his sights on becoming an Aeronautical Engineer.
Dylan says LongLook definitely directed his career choice.
“When I was in Year 10, I was really unsure of what I wanted to do. I heard about the course, came and saw what happens here at the base, learnt about aviation and the theory of flight and from that point I was really motivated. From there - I contacted Defence Force Recruiting and signed up.”
Joel says the program gave him a head start with his studies.
“Everything I learnt here, especially things like the theory of flight, were really helpful in my first year of engineering studies.”
Both Joel and Dylan said that it felt strange to be back in the LongLook classroom with the Year 10 students, sitting where they were three years ago.
Asked if he had had advice for the 2013 participants Dylan said: “This is definitely a great career opportunity, so make the most of it and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Just take it one step at a time and try your best and keep trying. This program was a big determining factor for me in joining up and I hope to see some of you guys again in a few years, in the RAN and following your dreams.”