Royal Fleet Auxiliary apprentices celebrate finishing their demanding engineering course in Gosport
A NEW batch of Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) apprentices are beginning the start of their journey after completing a demanding engineering course in Gosport.
The team of sailors completed their 30-week engineering technician initial career course at HMS Sultan.
Training as a split class alongside the Royal Navy, the apprentices have been studying towards a level two apprenticeship which is designed to prepare them for life at sea.
The course offers a mixture of both ‘hands-on’ practical engineering and technical training, designed equip the trainee technicians with the skills to operate, diagnose, maintain and repair equipment.
In addition, all RFA students received similar instruction to other Phase 2 trainees across the fleet within educational skills, Basic Sea Survival (BSSC) and Operational visits.
For the next stage of their training, they will be joining engineering sections aboard their first ships.
it will be a huge change of gears for Apprentice (E) Mark Ashcroft, who at 55 is starting a new career.
‘I’d been looking for a career change for a long time. I’d been working in IT and felt that now was the was right time,’ he said.
‘I’ve really enjoyed my time here, with a great bunch of lads, it’s been a real eye-opener, I thought it was going to be a bit of a struggle, but they’ve made it so much easier.’
Apprentice (E) Charlie Harper, 23, enjoyed making new friends and said the course had been a real challenge.
‘The theory side was quite hard, it was a bit of a struggle getting used to some of the distance learning due to restrictions around Covid-19, but the practical elements of the course were good,’ he added.
‘I was working as a stock manager before this so this will be a change of career and a new adventure.’
RFA training officer, Second Officer (E) Russell Downs said: ‘The class have been outstanding. We normally train two classes a year and this group have performed exceptionally well.
‘The RFA work in a variety of theatres, where the need to adapt is tested, so seeing how well they’ve adapted during the course, gives me great encouragement for their careers ahead.’