Australian Army mechanics have been building the skills of the mechanics responsible for maintaining Vanuatu Police Force vehicles.
CAPTION: Australian Army Sergeant Dale Daff and Vanuatu Police Force Private John Pierre work on a vehicle during the vehicle maintainers’ course at Cook Barracks in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Story by Captain Taylor Lynch. Photo by Corporal Robert Whitmore.
This was part of a three-week specialist training package delivered in November by an ADF Mobile Training Team to the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF), with the Australian mechanics working with Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF) mechanics.
Supported by the Vanuatu-Australia Defence Cooperation Program, the vehicle maintainers’ course, delivered at the VMF’s Cook Barracks, Port Vila, was primarily focused on further developing the skills of VMF mechanics through on-the-job training, including servicing VPF vehicles in Efate.
Sergeant Dale Daff, from the 7th Combat Service Support Battalion, said delivering scheduled servicing training to enable the VPF to continue their work throughout Vanuatu was important.
“Vehicle parts are not always readily available in Vanuatu, especially in the more remote islands, and COVID-19 has presented unique shipping challenges, so ensuring the fleet lasts as long as possible through scheduled servicing is vital for the VPF to carry out their duties across the provinces,” Sergeant Daff said
“I am confident the skills taught during the course will support the VMF mechanics to conduct scheduled servicing on VPF vehicles to a high standard.
“The VMF mechanics have really impressed me with their eagerness to learn some new skills.”
VMF Private Peta Titonga said the vehicle maintainers’ course was extremely valuable.
“My colleagues and I have learned plenty. I believe we’ve improved, so maybe one day when the instructors come back, they will see the improvements,” Private Titonga said.
“In the future, we may have another vehicle fleet provided by the government, so we can use the knowledge and skills from the course to help us to maintain the vehicles so they last longer.
“We’re looking forward to training some of the younger members.”
Private Titonga said the unique conditions in Vanuatu made regular vehicle maintenance important for the VPF.
“Sometimes if our vehicles break down, we have to wait for the parts to repair them,” he said.
“So in order to keep the vehicle running, we have to maintain it every day, every week, every month.
“For me as a driver, I have to learn every mechanical operation of the trucks, so if I’m out and break down, I can still get to the destination.
“The training will be very helpful and I wish the course lasted longer.”
The ADF mobile training team returned to Australia at the end of November.