Maritime Warfare South at HMAS Cerberus has hosted Defence work experience students for the first time, with 20 local teenagers getting to try out some of Navy’s newest training facilities.
CAPTION: Participants in the Defence Work Experience Program are instructed how to use fire extinguishers in the School of Ship Safety and Survivability fire simulator during a visit to HMAS Cerberus. Story by Alex DeValentin. Photo by Leading Seaman James McDougall.
The students participated in hands-on and interactive activities using state-of-the-art facilities, including the recently completed Survival at Sea Training Centre and School of Ship Safety and Survivability.
Deputy Director Mariner Skills Centre, Commander Ashley Shanks, was responsible for overseeing the introduction of this new capability into service.
He said his team had no hesitation in supporting the work experience program with an experience normally reserved for Navy personnel.
“We’re proud of what we do, and we’re very happy to show aspiring members of the ADF, because we want to encourage them to join,” Commander Shanks said.
“Our risk assessments are for trainees as young as 17, so the work experience students did the Navy swim test as part of our risk assessment for the activities in Survival at Sea. This allowed the students to participate at their level of confidence.
“If they’re uncomfortable during the swim, they can just watch the survival at sea training. But, if they are confident in the water, then we’ll get them wet.
“This provides valuable insight into what is required and what to work on should they choose a career in the Navy.”
Commander Shanks said he embraced the program himself in year 11.
He initially joined with the intention of becoming a Navy aviator but found that he loved being underwater and changed direction to become a clearance diver.
“I never had the opportunity to dive before joining the Navy, so had no knowledge that there was such a career path or that it was suited to me,” Commander Shanks said.
“Seeing the facilities and talking to actual sailors going through their training is the best way to understand what is on offer with a career in the Australian Defence Force.”
Defence’s work experience program provides young Australians with an interest in a Defence career the opportunity to gain exposure to a wide range of job roles available. Maritime Warfare South will be hosting other placements throughout the year.