Navy apprentices gain valuable insight

Fourteen apprentice electronics and marine technicians recently embarked on a tour of Fleet Base East and naval establishments in Sydney.

CAPTIONApprentice technicians from the Technical Training Faculty are given a tour of technical infrastructure aboard HMAS Canberra as part of the new Navy apprentice technician experience tour. Photos by Peter Loncar.

The tour was part of a new Navy apprentice technician experience program initiated by Technical Training Faculty (TTF) within Training Authority–Engineering.

The initiative involves 10 annual tours of Fleet Base East ships and facilities, which is integrated into the initial employment training (IET) program for technical sailors.

TTF Technical Training Faculty Officer in Charge – Personnel and Support, Lieutenant Commander Sky McPhee, said the aim of the initiative was to enhance the training experience for apprentices and deepen their understanding of technical and mariner skills within the broader Navy community.

“Formerly, TTF apprentices underwent their entire IET technical training on a Navy establishment, limiting exposure to ships, processes and equipment,” Lieutenant Commander McPhee said.

“The tour seeks to address this by offering apprentices the opportunity to engage with the broader operational Navy across various waterfront organisations, thereby fostering social and maritime mastery among the apprentices.”

During the five-day tour, the apprentices engaged with engineering personnel in HMA Ships Canberra, Supply, Brisbane and Diamantina. They visited Navy Training Systems Centre Randwick, HMAS Waterhen and Fleet Support Unit at HMAS Kuttabul. They also had the opportunity to tour facilities like the Captain Cook Graving Dock and pump house.

Warrant Officer Michael Speed accompanied them and said the tour was a valuable and eye-opening experience for the apprentices.

CAPTIONAn apprentice Technician from the Technical Training Faculty is given a tour of technical infrastructure aboard HMAS Canberra.

“Although still in its infancy, these trade tours were developed to give the apprentices firsthand experience of what to expect once they enter the fleet after completing their apprenticeships,” Warrant Officer Speed said.

“Many of these apprentices have never seen or been on an HMA Ship before, so they are very excited to be given this opportunity.”

Apprentice electronics technician Seaman Zali Turner said it was exciting to get a firsthand look at naval platforms and establishments.

“It’s really awesome to come to Fleet Base East and get a tour of the ships and facilities here,” Seaman Turner said.

“It’s such a great opportunity to see what life is like on different platforms and give us an idea of what various jobs will look like when we leave HMAS Cerberus.”

Seaman Anthony Mathyi, an apprentice marine technician – electrical, was also excited to get an up-close look at the different systems and facilities.

“As a technically minded person, it’s pretty exciting to get a good look at the various engineering systems on different ships,” Seaman Mathyi said.

“It definitely gives me a lot of perspective on the possible opportunities after finishing our initial employment training.”

This initiative has been implemented into the apprentice’s regular programming at Cerberus, providing them invaluable insights into potential posting opportunities and further enhancing the social, technical and maritime mastery that technicians contribute to the fleet.

Lieutenant Commander McPhee said the program seeks to foster continuous collaboration with fleet and supporting agencies.

“Soliciting input and support from these communities will ensure the program’s continued success and relevance, providing apprentices with the most valuable insights and immersive experiences,” Lieutenant Commander McPhee said.

“Sincere gratitude is extended to the Navy, fleet units, Fleet Support Unit and the engineering community for their invaluable contributions to the recent tour.

“Their support and expertise have been instrumental in crafting a truly memorable and educational experience, fostering the development of these apprentices as future technicians for the Navy fleet.”

CAPTIONApprentice Technicians from the Technical Training Faculty ready for their tour of technical infrastructure aboard HMAS Canberra.


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