A group of youngsters from Devon schools went behind the scenes to be shown life in the Royal Navy.
The work experience week showed a wide range of career opportunities as a trainee officer at Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, or rating at HMS Raleigh and life on board a warship at Devonport Naval Base, how the Ministry of Defence Police dogs are trained and how to keep fit as a sailor.
One of the 12-strong group Harrison Lake,14, of Devonport High School for Boys, said: “It was really good to come on this week. The best part was seeing how to become an officer at Dartmouth and trying to work out how to steer a ship on the simulator.’’
He said his ambition was to become a Royal Navy nuclear engineer with support from the Royal Navy in studying for a degree while working: “I’d really like to work on nuclear-powered submarines – they are mysterious and quiet and powerful. I was thinking of becoming a Navy pilot, but coming on this work experience week has changed my mind. I didn’t realise what was on offer in the Navy – you can virtually do anything that suits you.’’
Eden Lynch, 14, of Plymstock School, Plymouth, was inspired by life as a Royal Navy medic. She said: “I’m really interested in becoming a Navy medic. You get as close to the frontline action as you can without fighting. The medical people told me they went to Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. It really appeals to me. ‘’
Eden learned that she can join the Navy when she is 16 and then progress to training as an officer after a scholarship and further education.
Her friend Isabelle Stephens, 14, also of Plymstock School, said: “It’s been really interesting with the best bits being doing the fitness training in the gym. We did the same bleep test as the Navy and I did two-and-a-half kilometres in under 13 minutes which I was pleased about.
“I’d like to be an officer, probably a warfare officer. The bridge simulator where you take part in steering a pretend ship was the best bit we did. We also saw the police dogs train, that was good. My grandad was in the Navy on HMS Sheffield during the Falklands – I’ve researched that and it all looks exciting to work in the Navy.’’
Teacher Lynn Harris, Eggbuckland Community College careers co-ordinator, said: “The week has been a real eye-opener for the students. They have been shown jobs from supply experts to dog handlers and Royal Marines. This just shows the children what a big choice they have if they want to join the Navy. I think they’ve been amazed and probably spoiled for choice. There is definitely something for all tastes and skills and qualifications.’’
The Generic Work Experience week at Devonport Naval Base is open to any student aged 14-18. Students are required to apply and a selection process applies.