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Following family footsteps into a Defence Career through School to Seas camp

With both her mum and dad coming from military backgrounds, life in the Defence Force isn’t an alien concept for Wellington student Grace Fale, but she’s now had the chance to experience first-hand what a career could be like in the Royal New Zealand Navy

26 April, 2024

The Aotea College head girl was among 40 students from throughout the country who attended the latest School to Seas wahine camp at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland. 

“I’m super keen on the Defence Force as a future career, and it was so inspiring to listen to so many awesome people within the Navy to help me decide on exactly what branch I’d want to specialise in,” 17-year-old Grace said.

The week-long camp aims to spark young women’s interest in Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) based careers - both within the RNZN and the wider marine industry - and break down barriers and stereotypes.

In particular, it helps tackle misconceptions about life for women in the military and women at sea specifically.

During the camp, participants took part in a range of hands-on STEM activities including building an underwater robot, and gained an insight into what life is like on a warship and the many trades on offer in the Navy.

“I loved the Sea Safety Training Squadron and learning about survival at sea,” Grace said.

Coming from a military family, Grace said her upbringing has helped her develop valuable life skills.

“My mum and dad both served in the military before going into the police. They have both been very supportive of a career in defence for me and my siblings.

“Growing up in such an environment has taught me resilience, perseverance and leadership skills that my parents have role-modelled to me,” she said.

Now in her final year of school, the School to Seas camp has fuelled Grace’s passion to join the Defence Force.

“I am definitely aiming to begin my life in the Navy, and would love to become either a Seaman Combat Specialist or Navy medic,” she said.

“Something on the frontline, getting hands-on, travelling and making those life-long connections.”