Setting trainees on the right path

Training the next generation of Navy officers has its challenges, but for Divisional Officer Lieutenant Dylan Root, it has been the most rewarding posting of his career.

CAPTIONLieutenant Dylan Root at Majura Training Area, ACT. Story and photo by Corporal Michael Rogers.

“I had a trainee from my first intake come up to me and say they never thought they would look up to someone younger than them,” he said.

“You can’t do much to train them for the rest of their lives in 15 weeks, but if we focus on turning them into a good human, then they’ll treat their future colleagues with respect and help people.”

Divisional staff from the Royal Australian Naval College support the New Entry Officer Course while they learn everything from how to wear their uniform correctly to sea survival and small-arms skills.

Seeing their transformation from civilians to junior naval officers is a point of pride according to Divisional Officer Lieutenant Janessa Tree.

“You remember the first day when they arrived and they didn’t know their left foot from the right when they first tried to march,” she said.

“And then at the end, things like marching, marks of respect and recognising rank become second nature in as little as 15 weeks.”

Lieutenant Tree’s favourite part of the course was in the first week, when trainees wrote a letter to their future selves about how they are felt and what they wanted to accomplish.

Receiving the letters back just before graduation gives them a chance to reflect on their progress and is a memory that followed Lieutenant Tree since her own letter was written nearly eight years ago.

“You forget how scared and intimidated you were in the beginning and how such little things seemed like major hurdles, like just learning how to march,” she said.

“You don’t realise how much you have grown as a person and how much you have learnt until you get that letter back.”

Divisional staff complete the ADF Instructors Course and receive the recruit instructor qualification and allowance if they are posted to an instructional position.

Postings to the college are voluntary, which makes all the difference when working long hours that come with the job, according to Lieutenant Root.

“It’s excellent to work with a group of willing and able people who are respectful and collegiate. Everyone gets the job done together. If there’s a problem, we solve it as a team,” he said.

“The fruit of our labour is 15 weeks later we get to shed a tear when the next lot walk off the parade ground to join the fleet.”


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