Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Engineering students enjoy Navy week in Portsmouth

Engineering students enjoy Navy week in Portsmouth
28 October 2019
Topic:
Sixty young people with a leaning towards technical careers spent a week of adventure and engineering with the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.

Students from seven University Technical Colleges affiliated to the Senior Service were given the opportunity to learn more about the duties they might perform if they were to decide on a life in the Navy.

The students – aged between 14 and 18 – travelled from colleges in Aston, Bristol, Derby, Greater Peterborough, Reading, South Devon and South Wiltshire to spend time at the Navy’s two principal schools of engineering, tackle part of an assault course to learn about leadership, and dipped into naval history by touring HMS Victory and Warrior and learned how technology and engineering has repeatedly given the edge in the war at sea.

Throughout their visits the youngsters lived aboard retired destroyer HMS Bristol to give them an idea of life aboard a warship (although living conditions have markedly improved in the 50 years since she was built), learn the basics of rope work and negotiating the often-confusing passageways and compartments, and see what a career in the 21st Century Royal Navy offers.

At HMS Sultan in Gosport – home of the Navy’s air and marine engineering training – students got their hands on survival equipment, diesel engines, gas turbines and air frames.

Just up the road at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, warfare and weapon engineering are the foci of training. The teenagers were shown the bridge simulator, the Harpoon anti-ship missile system and Phalanx Gatling gun, saw how sailors deal with damage repair, strip down weapons such as rifles and machine guns and use the gun simulator.

I’ve always been interested in the Armed Forces and took part in the Junior Leaders Field Gun, so when I heard about this I thought I would come along and see what it’s like and it’s really convinced me that it’s something that I want to do.

Millie Thomas, from Newton Abbot

And after a day immersed in warfare, the students returned to Collingwood to spend half a day with the RN’s Leadership Academy which teaches the art of leading men and women in war and peace. It includes an assault course to bolster moral fibre, courage and encouragement; the students attempted to complete the ‘low ropes’ course.

“I’ve always been interested in the Armed Forces and took part in the Junior Leaders Field Gun, so when I heard about this I thought I would come along and see what it’s like and it’s really convinced me that it’s something that I want to do,” said 17-year-old Millie Thomas from Newton Abbot, who is studying for a Level 3 Diploma at South Devon UTC.

“Taking apart the pistons of an engine with the Marine Engineers was good, as we got to see how all the different equipment was used. I was also interested in weapons before, so Collingwood was quite good for me and the bridge simulator was interesting.”

Elijah Johnson, 16, from Birmingham, is also studying for a Level 3 Diploma – but at Aston University Engineering Academy. “It’s been really good. I’m interested in joining the Navy but didn’t really know what as. I have a much better idea of what’s available now.”

Kieran Stanley, also studying at Aston, was impressed by Sultan and found the diesel engines used for instruction “very hands on – they helped to develop ‘big engine’ skills”.

His Aston colleague Shafqat Ali, went on to say that another highlight was the low ropes course as “it brought the team together and allowed them to meet other students, and that helped to overcome social anxiety.”

The week-long ‘toe in the naval water’ was organised by Lieutenant Mike Hilton, the navy’s UTC affiliations officer.

“It was great to be able to show these future engineers the opportunities that the Royal Navy has to offer, and to see how engaged the students were throughout their visits,” he said.

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.