Navy Minor War Vessel family to welcome first female Senior Technical Officer

This article has photo gallery Published on Royal Australian Navy (author), CPOIS Cameron Martin (photographer), POIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Topic(s): International Women's Day

Petty Officer Marine Technician Bianca Ridley during her Chief Petty Officer promotion course. (photo: CPOIS Cameron Martin)
Petty Officer Marine Technician Bianca Ridley during her Chief Petty Officer promotion course.

International Women’s Day Feature

Petty Officer Marine Technician Bianca Ridley.

Petty Officer Marine Technician Bianca Ridley.

Marine Technician Bianca Ridley joined the Navy in 2001, following her grandfather - also a Marine Technician; cousin - a Boatswains Mate; and brother - a Marine Technician, into the service.

Over the past 19 years, her sea time has been spent primarily on Minor War Vessels (MWV) in Survey Motor Launches and Hydrographic Survey Ships, but she has had exposure to all of the Royal Australian Navy’s MWV platforms as a result of her tenure with the MWV Sea Training Group.

She has also has represented Navy at Defence Force Recruiting, where she received a Bronze Level Commendation for her outstanding service.

Nineteen years later, Bianca - who hails from the town of Linton, Victoria, is now a Petty Officer.

She is currently posted to the Australian Hydrographic Meteorological Group as the Marine Technician Type Desk Officer.

Petty Officer Ridley attained her Marine Technical Charge Certificate (MTCC) in December 2019.

She’ll be promoted to Chief Petty Officer and posted to HMAS Paluma in June as the first female Senior Technical Officer on an MWV.

“I’m looking forward to all the challenges this position will bring.

“I’m also a member of the Defence Reference Group - Women and am passionate about helping to build an inclusive workforce that I’d be proud to let my own daughter join one day.

“I always strive to do a good job no matter what the task and believe I’ve got a real people focus.

“I firmly believe that if you take care of your people, they’ll do their best to give you all they’ve got.

“Ultimately I want to make both the service proud and my family proud,” she said.

When Petty Officer Ridley joined the Royal Australian Navy, she was the only female Marine Technician in her intake.

“I have enjoyed watching the number of female technicians grow over the years,” she said.

Petty Officer Ridley says the Navy has been incredibly supportive of her work/family balance throughout her career.

“I have two children, a daughter Rylee (12) and a son Bryce (10), and I have a fantastic ex-partner that I co-parent with.

“Without him, none of my career would have been possible.

“He is the one that takes care of everything at home while I’m away doing the job that I love.

“I’m currently on a flexible working arrangement that allows me to start late so I can take my kids to school in the mornings and work back later in the afternoon.

Petty Officer Ridley says she has worked with a number of remarkable people during her 19-year career, but there have been three standout women that have been incredible mentors and role models.

“Captain Cass Ryan was my first female engineer and she had a big impact on my career as an Able Seaman. Her presence and tenacity were fantastic examples of a woman in a position of authority.

“Warrant Officer Dayle Lovell was my Charge while posted to Hydrographic Survey crew ‘Blue Crew’ and was the first female technical Senior Sailor I had ever worked with. She nurtured me and was an incredible sounding board and mentor.

“Lastly, Warrant Officer Caraline Enniss and I were posted to the same platform as junior sailors. She has mentored and coached me over the years and she is someone that I look up to.

“All of these women have been instrumental in my career in some way and I am thankful to them for moulding the person I have become.

“These connections with women in similar situations really helps to both ground me and build my confidence at the same time,” Petty Officer Ridley said.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2020 is ‘Generation Equality’, a call to action to join forces across generations, to create a new vision where every girl and woman everywhere has equal opportunities to lead, to learn, to earn a decent living and to live lives free from violence and discrimination.