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Mātauranga me te whakangungu

It takes a lot of skills and training to do the things the Navy does. From medical to engineering, navigation to combat, cooking for hundreds to flying a helicopter, the range of trades in the Navy is diverse.

We need our people to be highly trained in what they do, because they may have to do their job in adverse conditions, at a moment’s notice. At these times, we need experts. We need our people to excel and to be the best they can be.

Our people have to handle some of the most advanced technologies in the world. They are provided with the training, education, tools, and equipment necessary to become fully effective in their field.

Each year we run two 15-week Basic Common Training courses, and two 22-week Junior Officer Common Training courses. Within these intakes, personnel get to grips with Navy culture and get familiar with listening to details, following instructions, and learning how to work as a team. On a ship, no-one works alone. As a team, recruits get used to working quickly, with urgency, in order to complete tasks. They learn basic skills like weapon handling, first aid and drill. This is all part of developing an ability to perform tasks in the most inhospitable environments, under the direction of a leader, and in a team with people they can rely on.

After basic training, personnel move on to become an expert in their chosen field. They undertake specialised training on courses, as well as on the job and through sponsored tertiary study. Sponsored part-time study or full-time study is available as well, notably for engineering officers, who study a Bachelor of Engineering at Auckland or Canterbury universities.

The way that we train our personnel has benefits outside the Navy too. The qualifications our people achieve, plus the life and employment skills they gain, are highly sought after in the civilian world. And the skills, character and resilience that they develop in the Navy will also be valuable to the private and public sectors.

Recruit Training

An introduction to Navy life

How does a civilian transition into a sailor? It starts with basics.

New recruits may have passed the aptitude tests and have the right qualifications, but after walking into Devonport Naval Base and ‘signing on the line’, the Navy needs to confirm that our recruits are suitable for a career in the military. They need to be sure about the choice they’re making as well.

Basic or recruit training is designed to take a person from civilian to a competent and self-disciplined sailor, while confirming that person’s suitability for life in the Navy. For sailors, this starts with Basic Common Training (BCT), a 15-week course involving around 100 recruits twice a year. Recruits are divided into classes or mess decks of around 15 to 18 persons. Junior Officer Common Training (JOCT) is also two intakes a year, involving around 30 recruits at a time. There is no upper age limit to joining the Navy.

In a controlled environment, recruits learn to develop teamwork and support each other while under stress. They become accustomed to following orders, military discipline, moving with urgency, and they learn self-discipline – including learning how to care for and clean their uniforms. Physically, recruits become fitter and stronger and learn to bond through shared hard work.

As recruits progress through basic training or officer training, they receive more academic tuition and institutional knowledge about the Navy. The recruits develop confidence, self-esteem and self-respect. Drill and parade ground training becomes an important part of military life, because it teaches our people to think and work as a team and complete instructions quickly and correctly. In an emergency, this ‘muscle memory’ and ability to react quickly and without hesitation will come in handy when our people need to respond quickly to superior’s command. It may save their life or the life of a comrade.

A Navy recruit’s core military skills will include weapons training, first aid, navigation, seamanship, and lessons on military law. Recruits are welcomed onto the Navy marae, as part of their journey into their service and being part of a wider Navy whānau.

Both BCT and JOCT training concludes with a formal combined graduation ceremony in front of family and friends.