On Friday evenings during school terms, the normally sleepy suburb of Lidcombe in Western Sydney now comes alive with Navy traditions, multi-cultural cuisines and excited teenagers navigating their way to adulthood.
The newest Australian Navy Cadets (ANC) unit, Provisional Training Ship Australia, is responsible for bringing the young adults together, under the guidance of the ANC’s Leadership and Development program.
Provisional Training Ship Australia was officially approved by the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, in March. In doing so, he seconded his Strategic Advisor on Islamic Cultural Affairs, Captain Mona Shindy, to be the first member of staff appointed to the provisional training ship.
Vice Admiral Griggs was of the view that an Australian Navy Cadets unit based in an area with a high multicultural demographic was an excellent way for Navy to be better engaged with Australia’s broad and diverse cultural communities.
At the request of the Chief of Navy, Captain Shindy worked tirelessly to establish the new Australian Navy Cadets unit in Western Sydney.
After an initial advertising campaign, which aimed to get school students in the region interested, Provisional Training Ship Australia was set up, co-located with the existing Australian Air Force Cadets Unit, 307 Squadron, at the Defence Multi User Depot in Gormley Street, Lidcombe.
The new provisional training ship commenced operations with 35 recruit cadets and 5 dedicated staff members, and has quickly become the second largest ANC unit in the greater Sydney region.
“After having the opportunity to take part in this wonderful program, I got to develop and strengthen my leadership skills and self esteem,” said Yousef, one of the unit’s inaugural cadet members.
“I have also made many new friends and enjoy the activities that we do as a team. I recommend the Australian Navy Cadets to all,” he said.
Captain Mona Shindy said she was proud to be part of the initiative.
“The new Cadet unit highlights the wonderful way in which the Royal Australian Navy gives back to the community, by enriching and enhancing the lives of young Australians,” she said.
“Through the Australian Navy Cadets Youth Development Program, teenagers are given great skills for life. I feel privileged to be involved with Provisional Training Ship Australia and am excited for the current and future youth of Western Sydney,” Captain Shindy said.
Lieutenant Hassan Shindy, a retired naval officer, is the Commanding Officer of the Unit. Its key mission is to increase understanding of the Royal Australian Navy among diverse elements of the broad Australian community, while offering the youth of Western Sydney some excellent opportunities for growth and development.
“I am proud and excited to be involved with this excellent initiative, and delighted to be working with and developing the youth of Western Sydney, while having fun in a safe and positive environment,” Lieutenant Shindy said.
In line with Navy’s inclusion, diversity and cultural reform agendas, the new Cadet unit will help to improve Navy’s understanding of the many multi-cultural traditions and values that make up Australia’s cultural landscape, and will subsequently improve the operational effectiveness and capability of the Navy, both locally and internationally on missions and diplomatic engagements.
Also, through better interaction with a diverse range of Australians, Navy will be well placed to understand any potential barriers to recruitment from what is a continually changing Australian demographic.
Catering for the needs of all Australian cultural groups, in terms of dress, traditions and meal requirements, Provisional Training Ship Australia is at the forefront of recognising and celebrating the value and benefits that diversity brings to the Royal Australian Navy and more broadly to Australian society at large.
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20132137.