Reservists start officer training at BRNC

The latest batch of Royal Naval Reserve Officer Cadets have begun eight weeks of intensive training at Britannia Royal Naval College.

The group of 39 come from units across the UK and will be joined by three RNR chaplains and six full-time chaplains who are taking their first steps towards a career in the Royal Navy.

Now in its sixth year, the Accelerated Officer Programme has successful delivered more than 120 officers, medics and chaplains to the Royal Naval Reserve.

The fast-track course condenses the training pipeline for Reserves officers into one block of eight weeks over the summer. During this time, they undertake Royal Navy training in command, leadership, sea survival, seamanship, strategy, naval core training as well as an initial two-week acquaint at sea.

A passing out parade is then held at HMS Excellent, in Portsmouth.

Sub-Lieutenant Craig Purvis, a Media Operations Officer who completed the programme in 2016 and went on to join the course’s management team in 2018, said: “AOP is a fantastic opportunity to really kick-start your career in the RNR.

“It enables you to progress rapidly through initial officer training, which might otherwise take you up to two years to complete.

“Moreover, you’ll build lasting friendships with your peers and grow your professional network, expose you to new experiences, and develop new and existing skills to enhance your civilian career and CV.”

David Young is on the Accelerated Officer Programme

Reverend David Young

The RNR is an opportunity to minister to a distinct, highly motivated and well-trained community of people.

This year’s Accelerated Officer Programme has partnered once again with the Royal Navy’s University Royal Navy Units (URNU), and has welcomed university students from Devon, Glasgow, Liverpool and Wales.

Officer Cadet Henry Dewhurst, a final year medical student at Cardiff University, and a member of Wales URNU for three years, transferred to the RNR so he could build on his URNU experience, and continue his Royal Navy career in the Reserves.

He said: “I joined the RNR for the experiences and opportunities it can offer me as well as the camaraderie and tight-knit community one experiences as part of a ship’s company.”

Reverend David Young, a parish minister and ministry team leader at Helensburgh Parish Church, had his first exposure to the Royal Navy Chaplaincy in 2004 during his ministry training.

Acknowledging he had been drawn to becoming an RNR Chaplain ever since, he said: “The RNR is an opportunity to minister to a distinct, highly motivated and well-trained community of people. It’s a great opportunity for me to put my experience of both parish ministry and university chaplaincy to great use in a military context while at the same time taking me out of my own comfort zones and enabling me to develop skills and learn new ones.”

On successful completion of the Accelerated Officer Programme, Officer Cadets return to their local RNR units to prepare for a Final Leadership Exercise back at BRNC, in Dartmouth, followed by the RNR Fleet Board, the final assessment of RNR officer training.

From there, having successfully navigated initial officer training, officers move on to complete the Junior Officer Leadership Course and Divisional Officer Course prior to joining their chosen specialisation.