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URNU Weapon Engineer Officer Insight Scheme visit HMNB Devonport

2 October 2018
Seven members of the URNU WE Officer Insight Scheme from Liverpool, Manchester, Sussex and Devon URNUs came to HMNB Devonport from 10-12 Sep to conduct engineering visits on board HMS Portland, HMS Montrose and HMS Bulwalk.

The visit began with a brief from Lt Matt Machin RN on the Class Output Management (COM) organisation who are responsible for providing direct engineering support to Ships as well as managing refits.

A more in depth brief then followed from Lt Cdr Steve Jones from Type 23 COM Devonport who went into detail on the day to day support that is given to ships as well as highlighting the benefits and variety of a career in the Weapon Engineering Branch.

The Insight Scheme then visited the Type 23 Frigate HMS Portland which is currently undergoing an extensive refit period.

The group were led on a dock bottom tour underneath the Ship by Babcock Engineer Chris Harrison and were also able to visit several engineering compartments on board for an in depth brief on the engineering work that is being undertaken.

The visit gave the attendees a fantastic insight into the roles open to WE Officers as well as a close look at some exciting capabilities and equipment that they could be working with in the future

Lt Will Jones

After lunch in the Wardroom at HMS Drake the group then saw the Type 23 Frigate HMS Montrose which is currently working towards deploying on operations. The tour was given by the DWEO, SLt Ben Carver, who showcased as many compartments and spaces on board the Ship  as possible including the 4.5" Gun, the Gun Bay, the Ops Room, the Bridge and the Hangar.

The tour highlighted the stark difference in material state between a Ship in refit and a Ship in operational Fleet time and how much engineering effort goes into getting a Ship ready to return to the Fleet.

The next day the Insight Scheme were issued with the newly created 'The Engineering Branch of the Royal Navy' books, which detail the history of the Branch, shortly before meeting Devonport Captain Engineering, Captain Nigel Fergusson RN, for a fireside chat.

During the course of the discussion the Captain described the wide variety of roles and experiences that are open to Weapon Engineer Officers across the RN and highlighted the many unique benefits of a career the Service when leaving university.

The Insight Scheme then visited the Landing Platform Dock HMS Bulwark for a WE orientated tour of this unique class of Ship and capability from PO Penney. The group visited the Bridge, Ops Room, Wardroom, Upper Deck and the extremely impressive docking compartment which left the Officer Cadets in awe.

Lt Will Jones RN, creator of the Insight Scheme and Commanding Officer Oxford URNU said: "The visit gave the attendees a fantastic insight into the roles open to WE Officers as well as a close look at some exciting capabilities and equipment that they could be working with in the future."

2018 is 'The Year of Engineering' in the RN and the 'URNU WE Officer Insight Scheme' was launched in Apr 18. There are 15 URNUs located across the UK offering opportunities to 750 undergraduates from the country’s leading universities.

The URNU's mission is: "To develop an understanding of the Naval Service in undergraduates, so that those who go into civilian employment are positive advocates thereof and to facilitate a Naval Career for those who choose one."

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