Sailing through a year of experiences

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Kathryn Sykes (author), LSIS Sarah Williams (photographer)

Topic(s): Training, Taylor Division, HMAS Adelaide (L01), Navy Gap Year

Australian Defence Force Gap Year - Navy participant, Seaman Sinead Prewett conducts her sea training phase onboard HMAS Adelaide.  (photo: LSIS Sarah Williams)
Australian Defence Force Gap Year - Navy participant, Seaman Sinead Prewett conducts her sea training phase onboard HMAS Adelaide.

A number of Navy sailors are having the time of their lives this year in a ‘try before you buy’ scheme allowing young Australians to experience life in uniform.

The Australian Defence Force Gap Year – Navy provides the opportunity for to experience military training and lifestyle for up to 12 months, with no further obligations on the participant to continue to serve. 

The program allows members to experience Navy life with the potential to be considered for transfer to Permanent Navy workforce categories, subject to sustainability and vacancies. The program targets individuals aged between 18 and 24 years of age who have completed their Year 12 (or equivalent) education.

For Seaman Star Sinead Prewett her journey began at HMAS Cerberus in Victoria, in Taylor Division intake 342. Over the following 14 weeks she completed the General Service Duty Recruit Course and the ADFGY-N Basic Seamanship Course, allowing participants to work safely within Navy units. 

“By the end of it I was emotionally, mentally and physically drained,” she said.

“But during those months of cold weather, drill and conditioning to make new recruits into Navy sailors, I learned things about myself that I never knew before. 

“I have never been more proud of myself than I was when I graduated Recruit School and became a Seaman Star”.

The experience includes a programmed visit to various shore establishments conducted over two weeks that exposes members to a range of Navy environments including those officer training and submarine service opportunities.

Following the establishment tour is the Sea Training Phase to allow members to participate in life at sea for a minimum of four weeks so that they can make a more informed decision on whether or not to seek an extension of their service on completion of the year. Seaman Star Prewett  spent eight weeks in HMAS Adelaide.

“My time in HMAS Adelaide has been full of amazing opportunities for learning about the many different career paths the Navy has to offer,” she said.

The final employment component involves being assigned to shore establishments and Fleet Support Units undertaking meaningful employment within the base or unit for experience in areas of vocational interest. 

“Working at HMAS Cairns has been incredible and I plan to continue to take full advantage of my time in the program and I plan on furthering on my career in the Navy.”