NAW2021: Destroyer Apprentices Build Their Futures

During National Apprenticeship Week 2020 we explored the experiences of six recent Royal Navy weapon and marine engineer joiners within the Engineering Training Squadron at HM Naval Base Portsmouth.

There were all working in HMS Dauntless at the time; she was being prepared for a return to sea after refit.

We look back over 12-months’ progression for three of them during this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, which focuses on the theme Build The Future. 

Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) Patrick Swallow has stayed in Dauntless, part of the team helping industry with her power and propulsion upgrade package at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead. Dauntless is the first of the Type 45 destroyers to go through this Power Improvement Plan work and ET Swallow is savouring the role he’s playing.

 

Since last year, I have managed to achieve my Harbour Qualification with HMS Dauntless and promote from ET2 to ET1, as well as build my experience at sea.

Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) Patrick Swallow

The 26-year-old from Sheffield said: “Since last year, I have managed to achieve my Harbour Qualification with HMS Dauntless and promote from ET2 to ET1, as well as build my experience at sea. This allowed me to work through the sea tasks I have in my taskbook so that when we return to sea, I can then complete my Sea Qualification and hold watches whilst we deploy. 

“Being an engineer in the Royal Navy is fantastic opportunity to not only see industry-leading technology up close, but also get amongst a whole host of things and see the ship in a way you would never normally be able to. I can be doing anything from assisting in the update of our ship’s emergency procedures (which will help those going through PIP in future), to helping maintain the equipment already on board; all this whilst physically seeing the ship transform from how we see them today, to how they’ll look in the future.”

ETWE Connor Piercy, 22 from County Durham, joined HMS Duncan’s weapon engineering department following his time in the ETS, during which he completed the first full year of his apprenticeship and gained initial qualifications. He progressed to ET1 after passing the ship’s safety board.
“Currently due to Covid-19 restrictions, I have been working from home via online training,” he said. “This can include talking through fire exercises, briefs on a variety of subjects and physical training.

“Since going from ET2 to ET1 and finishing ETS I have joined my first ship. This will allow me to further progress through my task book, gaining more knowledge of the ship and my job as a weapons engineer. This is significant as once my task book is completed, I can progress further into my career leading to promotion and further qualifications through the apprenticeship programme.”

ETME Wayne Gold, 25 from Southampton, is also on Duncan where he has daily functions as she is brought out of refit, which include checks on the fire safety systems, valves and air treatment units.

He’s also managed to complete courses in car maintenance, welding, and coaching and mentoring. 
“Now I’m an ET1 there’s the chance to use some of the coaching and mentoring skills I’ve learned with the ET2s to help bring them on,” he said.