From diesel engines to data

A former Navy marine technician has swapped diesel engines for data, changing careers after 15 years to commission as an intelligence officer.

CAPTION: Acting Sub Lieutenant Simon Middleton at the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell, Story and photo by Private Jacob Joseph.

Acting Sub Lieutenant Simon Middleton, who recently graduated from the Royal Australian Naval College, decided to switch jobs almost five years ago when a remark from his father-in-law stuck in his mind.

“I was looking for a new career, because marine technician wasn’t the job I wanted to do forever,” Acting Sub Lieutenant Middleton said.

“I didn’t think much about my father-in-law’s comment about becoming an ‘ink’ officer at the time, but when I spoke to my brother-in-law, who is an intelligence officer, I got an idea about the job.”

Intelligence officers manage teams that analyse information to help command make decisions.

It’s a long way from the engine room, but Acting Sub Lieutenant Middleton has been working towards it for years.

He completed a graduate certificate in intelligence analysis while fulfilling a training role at HMAS Cerberus.

“The course was designed to help people in the intelligence community become managers, which is what an intelligence officer does,” he said.

“I chose that course because it’s a big commitment to change careers like this without knowing what you’re doing.”

Acting Sub Lieutenant Middleton’s brother-in-law organised a mentor to prepare him for his new role.

Like Acting Sub Lieutenant Middleton, his mentor also came from a technical background.

He believed his experience as a marine technician could provide a unique perspective in his future role.

“It’s just another skill set and different way of thinking that enhances the branch,” Acting Sub Lieutenant Middleton said.

With the New Entry Officers’ Course completed, the former stoker will head to ADFA for three years to complete a Bachelor of Arts majoring in international political studies.

His journey will continue after graduating from ADFA with six months’ training before he starts working as an intelligence officer at sea.





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