At the coalface of Recruit training

Published on LS Luke Masterson (author), LSIS Dove Smithett (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Cerberus, VIC

Topic(s): Recruit School, HMAS Cerberus

Recruit Instructors, Leading Seamen Luke Masterson (left) and Nicholas Pearce at Recruit School of HMAS Cerberus, Victoria.  (photo: LSIS Dove Smithett)
Recruit Instructors, Leading Seamen Luke Masterson (left) and Nicholas Pearce at Recruit School of HMAS Cerberus, Victoria.

The Leading Seaman Recruit Instructor (LSRI) is arguably the most influential person in a young sailor's career. A role that involves mentoring, motivating and inducting potential sailors into the Royal Australian Navy; the position offers challenges unlike any shore posting with a great sense of achievement upon the graduation of the sailors whom you have spent many hours moulding into what today's Navy needs. Through teaching recruits basic service skills, including communal living and drill, to developing their mental and physical resilience, every person and every day has its own challenges and new experiences.

During my time as a LSRI, I have worked for and with people from a diverse variety of backgrounds, from many walks of life, specialising in many different categories. These include a Nursing Officer, a Combat Systems Supervisor and a Cryptologic Linguist. Coming from the Submarine Squadron, I didn’t have much exposure to the other facets of the broader Royal Australian Navy community before I arrived here at Recruit School; this posting has opened my eyes to the greater Navy.

There is never a dull moment at Recruit School and there are always activities to get involved in. From stints at sea instructing the recruits on the basics of watch keeping and seamanship on the MSV Seahorse Spirit, to conducting and supervising the High Ropes course, the role of an LSRI is always interesting.

There are many opportunities for physical activity, whether it is participating in the active Divisions Shakedown, Unit Readiness Evaluation (URE) or Mission Readiness Evaluation (MRE), or taking part in the planned PT sessions put on by the Recruit School PT staff. During the times that the Division is off line, the staff undertake a variety of other roles to assist the online Divisions. These can include night and morning sweeping (a caretaker role) and providing assistance during their milestone physical training events (ie Shakedown, URE or MRE). Staff may also participate in professional development days, aimed at developing themselves and introducing new staff members into the team.

As much as I have taught the recruits who have been under my care, I have also learnt a great deal from them. It has opened my eyes to who I am and allowed me to develop myself both personally and professionally. Performing the role of an LSRI has allowed me to develop my management skills in preparation for the future.

The role of a LSRI is very challenging, with many unique situations that need to be handled professionally with consideration for the relevant policy and the individual recruit’s interests. While at times the work is difficult and time-consuming, all staff members are adequately compensated for their efforts. This posting has the potential to provide you with exceptional professional development, thus setting you up for any managerial positions you may be employed to do in the future.

Being a LSRI has to be the highlight of my career to date and has prepared me for promotion and posting back to sea going duties.