RAN Badge1.0     Introduction

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RANs) initial military training is the process of preparing men and women for their careers in the military, specifically the RAN. Training is progressive and continues all the way through an individual’s career; being a mixture of mandatory, optional, individual and collective training and educational programmes.

The RANs sailors and officers receive some of the best military training in the world and there are a number of stages to their training. First, they will complete Phase 1 initial (basic) military training, the purpose of which is to turn civilian recruits into partly-trained sailors (providing foundational skills). The RANs Phase 1 initial military training produces fit, motivated individuals capable of conducting a variety of naval tasks in any operational maritime environment. Those who pass are fully prepared to embark onto Phase 2 of their naval training.

When individuals complete their initial training, they will move to their Category School for Phase 2 Initial Employment Training (IET) which qualifies individuals for their chosen profession within the RAN. The length and location of this training will depend on the job the individual has chosen. From there individuals will begin their work within a land-based establishment or seaborne vessel, but will continue to train and learn throughout their career.

This article is divided into six sections for easier reading with part one providing this introduction, whilst section two looks at the organisation of training in the RAN. Sections three and four outline the training provided to recruit sailors and officer cadets, including some of the personalities involved. Section five will provide an alternative view on the role of Phase 1 initial training. Finally, section six will provide some useful links and also references.

1.1     Training Approach

The induction of any recruit (officer or sailor) into the RAN is one of the most important phases of their military career. The experience and attitudes they gain during this time will help to form the sailor’s character and approach to the RAN. It is critical for initial (Phase 1) training establishments to ensure that sailors under training become proficient in the basic skills required by every sailor. The training emphasis should be on progressive development and achievement throughout the initial training programme.


2.0     An Overview of the Royal Australian Navy’s Phase 1 Initial Military Training Landscape

RAN, HMAS Perth (FFH_157), near Garden Island Naval BaseThe Deputy Chief of Navy (DCN), a Rear Admiral (OF-7) sitting within Navy Strategic Command, is also the Head Navy People and Reputation (HNPR) and in this role acts as the professional head of the RANs training organisation with overall responsibility for both sailors and officers training pipelines (the HNPR is also described as Head Navy People Training and Resources and Head Navy People and Resources).

Within the RANs training organisation there are a number of key personalities, who include:

  • After the HNPR, the most senior officer responsible for training is the Commodore Training (COMTRAIN), a Commodore (OF-6).
  • Deputy Director, Individual Training.
  • Deputy Director, Navy Training Policy, a Commander (OF-4).
  • Commanding Officer (CO) of HMAS Cerberus, a Captain (OF-5); home of the RANs Recruit School.
  • Training Authority – Initial Training, Leadership and Management (TA-ITLM):
    • Director, Captain (OF-5), also CO of HMAS Creswell.
    • Deputy Director, Commander (OF-4).
  • RAN Naval College, Training Commander, Commander (OF-4).
  • Officer-in-charge Recruit School, Commander (OF-4).

2.1     HMAS Creswell

HMAS Creswell is located on the south-western shores of Jervis Bay in the Jervis Bay Territory, 180 kilometres south of Sydney, and is commanded by a Captain (OF-5).

HMAS Creswell, situated on the shores of Jervis Bay, was first utilised for naval officer training almost a century ago and conducts initial training for regular (full-time) and reserve (part-time) naval officers, as well as continuing professional development (CPD) for officers and Senior Sailors (RAN, 2013).

HMAS Creswell consists of:

  • The Royal Australian Naval College (RANC);
  • The School of Survivability and Ship’s Safety: teaches fire fighting, damage control and nuclear, biological and chemical defence.
  • Kalkara Flight: provides a remotely controlled jet target for anti-aircraft operations around Australia, and is based at Jervis Bay airfield.
  • The Beecroft Weapons Range: located across the peninsula, offers targets for Naval Gunfire Support practice.
  • The final element provides administrative support for all sections operating out of HMAS Creswell.

The CO of HMAS Creswell has three roles which encompass a number of responsibilities (Crawford, 2014):

  1. As the CO of HMAS Creswell is responsible for:
    1. All facilities and staff on the base.
    2. Other satellite facilities such as the Jervis Bay Airfield and Beecroft Weapons Range.
  2. As the Director of TA-ITLM is responsible for:
    1. Overseeing satellite facilities including:
      1. RAN Recruit School, located at HMAS Cerberus.
      2. Sailors’ leadership management faculties at Training Centres East (Sydney) and West (Western Australia).
    2. School of Survivability and Ship’s Safety: a mock-up of a ship structure designed to teach students to work in teams and fight on-board fires (while the CO might not oversee the training at the School of Survivability and Ship’s Safety, which falls to HMAS Watson, because the facility is on the base the CO is also responsible for it).
  3. Superintendent of Naval Waters, Jervis Bay.

2.2     HMAS Cerberus

HMAS Cerberus, covering 1517 hectares, is situated at Crib Point on the shores of Western Port Bay 75 kilometres south east of Melbourne, and is commanded by a Captain (OF-5).

Within the HMAS Cerberus area there are several sub-units which come under the umbrella of the CO of HMAS Cerberus. Sub-units coordinated by HMAS Cerberus include:

  • The Seamanship School: lead authority for all seamanship, corrosion control and survival training for officers and sailors.
  • The Combat Survivability School; and
  • The Recruit School.

Approximately 6000 personnel are trained each year, with roughly 800 onsite at any one time.


3.0     Introduction

The RANs Sailor R
ecruit Training School, commonly known as ‘Recruit School’, is based at HMAS Cerberus, which is situated at Crib Point on the shores of Western Port Bay 75 kilometres south east of Melbourne.

The purpose of recruit school is to train and prepare the RANs newest sailor recruits to the required standards in core military knowledge and skills, and to develop in them appropriate qualities.

The skills learnt at recruit school form the foundation of a career as a sailor and are called upon for years to come. Recruits will develop skills and attributes such as initiative, teamwork, self-discipline and professionalism, and “are expected to adopt and display in their behaviour and their attitude the Navy Values, Honour, Honesty, Courage, Integrity and Loyalty” (RAN, 2015a).

Recruits walk out of recruit school a stronger and more confident person, with a wealth of new experiences to draw upon.

Notwithstanding some name changes, a dedicated recruit school has been located at HMAS Cerberus since 1925 (RAN, 2015b); from 1912 to 1925 recruits where trained exclusively on the HMAS Tingira, a clipper ship.

A detailed history of the recruit school can be found here.

3.1     RAN Recruit School Mission

The Mission of the RANs recruit school is (RAN, 2015a):

“To induct men and women into the Royal Australian Navy, to enable them to think for themselves, work with each other, have the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct basic duties within the fleet and progress to a specialised career in the Royal Australian Navy.”

3.2     Structure of the Recruit School

The recruit school is commanded by a Commander (OF-4) and consists of the following:

  • Administration Building and Classrooms.
  • Parade Ground (partially covered).
  • Four, two storey (six cabin berths) recruit accommodation blocks: Taylor block; Rogers block; Shipp block; and Emms block (women on the ground floor and men on the upper floor).
  • A recreation facility known as the Sobraon Club, containing pool tables, table tennis tables and internet access.

When recruits arrive at the recruit school they will be placed in one of four Divisions: Emms Division; Rogers Division; Taylor Division; and Shipp Division. Each having a Divisional Officer-in-charge (Lieutenant, OF-2), Divisional Chief Petty Officer and Divisional Petty Officer, as well as Divisional Able Seamen who deliver the training.

A Division is a collection of personnel placed together for the purpose of administration and training, commanded by a Divisional Officer-in-charge. Within each Division, recruits are placed into classes of no more than 25 Recruits, under the day to day direction and instruction of a qualified Recruit School Instructor.

Some of the Divisions have changed names and details on this can be found here: (Griggs, 2013).

3.3     RAN Recruit Instructors

The role of a RAN recruit instructor is to: deliver the RAN Training curriculum; provide leadership and nurture recruit development; develop equity and diversity; mentor recruits; and deliver military skills in accordance with current training policy.

The RAN recognises the important role that recruit school instructors and leaders have in the development of the next generation of sailors. As a result, all aspirant instructors “undergo an interview process and undertake a six week selection course to equip them with the additional skills needed for their demanding role as Recruit Instructors” (RAN, 2015a).

3.3.1     RAN Recruit Instructors Selection Process

RAN recruit instructors are selected from all eligible Leading Seamen who meet the selection criteria (RAN, 2015c):

  • Completed the Leading Seaman Leadership Course;
  • Have an excellent (appraisal) reporting history;
  • Motivated to improving the RAN;
  • Successfully passed the RAN Physical Fitness Test; and
  • Successfully completed the interview process with the Warrant Officer, Recruit School.

3.3.2     RAN Recruit Instructors Course

Before a recruit instructor can deliver training to recruits they must successfully complete the 6-week RAN Recruit Instructors Course, which consists of:

  • RAN First Aid requalification;
  • Equity and Diversity Adviser training;
  • RAN Instructional Technique course;
  • Parade training;
  • Adventure ropes;
  • Youth training skills; and
  • On-the-job training.

3.3.3     RAN Recruit Instructor Responsibilities

As well as adhering to the RAN Recruit School Code of Conduct, recruit instructors also have the following responsibilities (RAN, 2015c):

  • At all times behave in a way that upholds Navy Values and the good reputation of recruit training;
  • Encourage initiative in every trainee;
  • Recognise and reward achievement of recruit trainees;
  • Learn to understand, appreciate and respect the differences of colleagues and recruit trainees;
  • Develop confidence and teamwork;
  • Lead, train and counsel;
  • Be fair and consistent; and
  • Act with care and diligence.

3.4     Outline of RAN Recruit Training

There are two types of recruit courses conducted at recruit school, namely:

  1. General Entry Recruit Course: for both Regulars and Reserves, delivered as a continuous 11-week (three phase) residential course at HMAS Cerberus.
    1. Phase 1, weeks 1-5, Junior Class.
    2. Phase 2, weeks 6-9, Intermediate Class.
    3. Phase 3, weeks 10-11,
  2. Reserve Entry Recruit Course (Phased Training): for Reserves only, delivered over two separate residential periods at HMAS Cerberus (e.g. 1 x 19 day period and 1 x 13 day period).

3.4.1     General Entry Recruit Course

Every four weeks up to 120 new recruits will commence their 11-week General Entry Recruit Course. The first few days will be taken up with administration, medical and dental checks, kit issue, haircuts, initial parade training, the RAN Swim Test and the RAN Physical Fitness Test.

Although a majority of the training is conducted within the Recruit School, elements of the course are conducted in other areas of HMAS Cerberus such as the Seamanship and Combat Survivability Schools. Recruit training is also conducted on board the Seahorse Spirit (a 72 metre long ocean going vessel operated by Defence Maritime Services). The Seahorse Spirit is employed solely to provide a week of Sea Familiarisation Training to the recruits. The training cruises conducted in Bass Strait and Western Port Bay operate over 40 weeks of the year (RAN, 2015a).

Key components of the course include high level physical training sessions, high ropes courses, survival at sea methods, fire fighting skills, first aid training, and life at sea exposure onboard MV Seahorse Spirit and F88 Austeyr rifle qualification.

The 11 week course is best described in 3 phases. Phase 1 covers weeks 1 to 4 (internal at Recruit School), Phase 2 covers weeks 5 to 9 (external to Recruit School) and Phase 3 covers weeks 10 and 11 (internal at Recruit School). A brief outline of a course schedule is provided in Table 1 below.

 Table 1: Weekly outline of training
Phase Week Description
1 01
  • Induction and general administration.
  • Haircuts and issue of uniform.
  • Learn about naval life.
  • Lessons in marching, naval ranks and communal living.
  • Physical fitness testing and RAN swim test.
  • Midweek: move from civilian clothing to issue tracksuit.
  • Receive lessons including: Occupational Health and Safety; Fire Safety; Navy Values; Ethos and Environmental Awareness; Living in Communal Harmony; Pay and Entitlements; Equity and Diversity; Psychological Support Services; and Study Skills and Lifestyle.
1 02
  • Receive lessons including: Navy life and organisation (culture, ethos, traditions and ceremonies); illegal drug awareness; and marching.
  • Physical Training (PT), a regular part of the training programme, is utilised to develop and encourage fitness, teamwork and confidence.
  • Shakedown’ is a RAN reference to a series of basic evolutions that a vessel will undertake after a prolonged maintenance period. It is aimed at putting a ship’s crew through a series of routine situations that could occur whilst at sea.
  • At recruit school, Shakedown is designed to give the recruits their first physical challenge and is a full day activity that requires recruits to complete a series of predominantly physical activities to instil teamwork, leadership, communication and initiative (the primary emphasis is on teamwork).
  • Activities undertaken throughout the day include a series of team building exercises, an arduous forced march (‘Tour de Cerberus’), swimming pool based water exercise, sandpit exercise and a cross country running activity.
  • Successful completion will see recruits awarded their divisional patches.
  • Recruits work in teams and points are awarded to each class based on their overall performance. These points, together with points awarded throughout the remainder of recruit training, go towards the award of a Divisional Shield which is presented to the winning class in week 10 by the CO Recruit School.
1 03
  • Wear Navy issue uniform for the first time.
  • Lesson in uniform/kit maintenance, cleaning and ironing.
  • Introduction to locker inspection and kit muster.
  • Commanding Officer’s parade (formal inspection, prayers and march past).
  • Activities include: goal setting and motivation, alcohol awareness and education, character formation – conflict, competency management, ADF security, inoculations and class photographs are taken.
  • Learning about the various evolutions that take place in the RAN.
1 04
  • 2 days of basic First Aid training (administering basic first aid during emergencies situations).
  • Higher Ropes Course: a whole day activity (10 metres above the ground) that is designed to develop teamwork, trust, communication and compliance to safety instructions.
  • Friday: a 2-hour formal written assessment of knowledge learnt so far.
    Warrant Officer’s (WO) Rounds: The first of three major inspections conducted by the Recruit School Command Team. For these rounds the Recruit School WO inspects the cleanliness of the accommodation block ablutions, block foyer, cabins, bunks and the state of each Recruit’s locker.
  • This also marks an important milestone in a recruit’s training, as it marks their transition from the junior class to the intermediate class.
2 05
  • Beginning of external/outside training at HMAS Cerberus.
  • 2-days of Survival at Sea training: day one is theory with an exam that must be passed in order to undertake the practical session on day two. The practical session on day two will see recruits undertake a variety of exercises with include, donning a thermal protection suit, execute a safe water entry, launch a life raft, and practice survival at sea techniques.
  • 2-days of Corrosion Control training: training in how to preserve the assets of the RAN and maintain them in good working order.
  • Further marching training, culminating in a drill progress test and followed by a kit muster.
2 06
  • 2.5 days of Sea Familiarisation Training: onboard the MV Seahorse Spirit, recruits will conduct the duties of a helmsman and lookout, stand watches, undertake training drills.
  • Wednesday afternoon is a PT session.
  • Thursday is the start of weapon training, operating the F88 Austeyr rifle, eight days spread over 2-3 weeks.
2 07
  • Continuation of weapon training: including qualification shoot; basic marksmanship skills; and zeroing a rifle, utilising the Weapons Training Simulator System (WTSS) located at HMAS Cerberus (the WTSS is a computerised simulation of the F88 Austeyr rifle).
  • After the WTSS recruits will zero a rifle on a live firing range.
    Continuation of PT and drill.
2 08
  • 4-day Standard Combat Survivability module: undertaken at the School of Ship Survivability and Safety (SSSS) utilising a purpose built mock-up of a ship.
  • Training includes completing repairs in a simulated damage control environment, extinguishing different types of fires, taking precautions for different threats, dealing with toxic hazards in the workplace, and how to safely operate a breathing apparatus (all in confined spaces and/or flooding compartments).
  • The module includes a theory exam and multiple practical exercises.
2 09
  • For the first two days recruits will continue with weapon training.
    Further practise at the WTSS prior to conducting final live fire drills and assessments at the Rifle Range.
  • Recruits will participate in Character Formation and Mess Relationship instruction which is conducted by the Recruit School Chaplain; i.e. the importance of maintaining good order and discipline, whilst living and working in close quarters.
3 10
  • Completion all outstanding class activities and modules.
  • Divisional sports carnival: classes dress up in crazy outfits and compete against each other in a round robin competition.
  • Day 64: Monday of week 10 presents the opportunity for recruits to elect to discharge from the Navy if they choose to do so (it is every recruits right to exercise this option with no questions asked).
  • Consolidation of drill and marching techniques in preparation for final drill exam.
  • Unit Readiness Evaluation (URE): one of the final hurdles in the recruits’ training and is conducted on Thursday of Week 10. The URE tests the core skills that Recruits have been taught throughout their training, such as: teamwork; time management; communal harmony; leadership; and communication.
  • At sea the purpose of the URE is to achieve the appropriate level of readiness prior to Operational Deployment. In order to pass URE the ship must first demonstrate that it is capable of fighting in the warfare environment and able to control any subsequent damage control incidents. Once all these competences have been completed the ship will then be evaluated during a 48 hour ‘Warfare Scenario’ where all competencies will be formally assessed.
  • Activities conducted during the Recruit School URE include an endurance circuit, a survival activity in the pool, a forced march through bush carrying a tent and stretchers (which incorporates first aid activities) and a sandpit bunker building exercise. Points are awarded for each activity based on teamwork and the team’s ability to successfully complete the tasks. The day culminates with a 2.4km run as classes go through their paces at the infamous HMAS Cerberus Mud Run.
  • The URE brings together the skills that recruits have learnt over the past 10 weeks and points are awarded for each activity on an aggregated basis, to determine which class is awarded the ‘Class of the Intake.’
  • The second day in URE is dedicated to formal COs rounds. To prepare for this, the recruits must clean and tidy their accommodation block and cabins to an immaculate standard. Recruits are required to wear their ceremonial uniform for the occasion and lay their kit for inspection.
  • Upon successful completion of rounds, Recruits enjoy a barbeque at the Sobroan Club before proceeding on leave for the weekend (if they have earned it!).
3 11
  • Graduation Parade: takes place on the Friday.
  • Drill is conducted throughout the week in preparation.
  • Recruits will have the opportunity to invite up to four family or friends to view the parade which commences at 10.00am.
  • On Graduation Day, five awards are presented: Recruit of the Intake; Academic Recruit of the Intake; Top Shot of the Intake; Leadership Award; and Sportsperson of the Intake.
  • On graduation recruits are formally recognised as ‘sailors’ in the RAN and are promoted to the rank of Seaman (star), prior to commencing their category specific (Phase 2 employment) training.

Recruits must pass the RAN Physical Fitness Test (Table 2) before graduating. The Fitness Test is usually conducted on Thursday of week one of training. In order to achieve a pass, recruits are to attain the standard requisite to their age and gender in all components of the test. These are as follows:

  • Military press-up or Flexed-arm hang (press-ups conducted at a 2 second cadence);
  • Military Sit ups (sit-ups conducted at a 3 second cadence); and
  • 2.4 km run.
 Table 2: RAN Physical fitness test standards
Age Less Than 35 Years Age 35 to 44 Years Age 45 to 54 Years Age 55 and over
Number of Press-ups 25 20 6 6
Flexed-arm Hang 25 seconds 20 seconds 15 seconds 10 seconds
Number of Sit-ups 25 20 15 10
2.4 km Run 13 minutes 15 minutes 17 minutes 19 minutes
500 m Swim 12.5 minutes 13.5 minutes 14.5 minutes 15.5 minutes
Beep Test Level 7.4 Level 6.10 Level 6.4 Level 5.9
Number of Press-ups 10 7 3 3
Flexed-arm Hang 25 seconds 20 seconds 15 seconds 10 seconds
Number of Sit-ups 25 20 15 10
2.4 km Run 15 minutes 17 minutes 19 minutes 21 minutes
50 m Swim 13.5 minutes 14.5 minutes 15.5 minutes 16.5 minutes
Beep Test Level 6.9 Level 6.2 Level 5.4 Level 5.0

In addition to the Physical fitness standard, all members of the RAN are required to undertake the RAN Swim Test. Recruits must pass the swim test in order to graduate from Recruit School, and must pass the swim test to proceed to the Safety of Life at Sea Training, which is a requirement for the Sea Familiarisation Training conducted between week 4 and 9 of the recruit course.

Recruits are required to wear overalls for the test and swim unaided in any manner. The RAN Swim Test consists of the following:

  • 3 metre safety jump from a platform;
  • 10 metre underwater swim (body fully submerged under water);
  • 50 metre swim using survival strokes only (breaststroke, back scull or sidestroke); and
  • 15 minutes treading water in overalls.

3.4.2     Reserve Entry Recruit Course

All Reserve recruits attend their initial military training at the RAN Recruit School, located at HMAS Cerberus, via the Reserve Entry Recruit Course. Initial military training can be achieved via one of two methods of training:

  • Phase Training: delivered over two separate residential periods at HMAS Cerberus (e.g. 1 x 19 day period and 1 x 13 day period); or
  • Completing the entire 11-week residential General Entry Recruit Course as described above.

If a Reserve recruit chooses to complete their initial military training via the phase method, they will join their Regular colleagues for the initial 3-weeks of an intake. At the end of the third week, i.e. 19 days after enlistment, Reserve Entry Recruits are sent home.

At a mutually convenient time, Reserve recruits will return to the recruit school to complete their initial military training. This second, 13-day, phase of residential training includes first aid, combat survival and survival at sea modules. On successful completion, Reserve recruits will graduate from the Reserve Entry Recruit Course and will then either commence employment within their chosen field or undertake further specialist training if required.

For those Reserve recruits who opt for the 11-week continuous training package, they will join their Regular colleagues and remain with them for the duration of the course.

3.5     Phase 2: Sailors’ Initial Employment Training

Phase 2 Initial Employment Training (IET), known at Category Training, is undertaken at a Category School and follows Basic Training. It prepares sailors for the specific job they will ultimately be doing. The length, location and recognised qualifications of this training are dependent on the job. After this sailors will be sent to a naval vessel and their career as a sailor will have begun.

  • Promotion to Seaman (qualified): Occurs on successful completion of category training. This training produces sailors who can undertake routine tasks within their category preparing them for further employment and, in time, promotion.
  • Promotion to Able Seaman: All sailors are eligible for promotion to Able Seaman after 12 months effective service in the rank of Seaman (qualified). The pay seniority date of a member is normally the same as the date of actual promotion, and local units are responsible for authorising this promotion.


4.0     Introduction

RAN, Officer Graduation Parade, HMAS CreswellThe Royal Australian Naval College (RANC), typically known as the Naval College, is based at HMAS Creswell and delivers initial officer training to both regular and reserve naval officers. The RANC forms the major part of HMAS Creswell and is led by a Captain (OF-5); who is also the CO of HMAS Creswell.

Besides HMAS Creswell, officer training is also conducted at the Initial Training Faculty (HMAS Cerberus), and the Leadership Management Schools at Training Centres East (Sydney) and West (Western Australia).

The purpose of the Naval College is to train and prepare the RANs newest officers to the required standards in core military skills and knowledge, and to develop in them appropriate leadership qualities.

A detailed history of HMAS Creswell can be found here.

4.1     Structure of the Naval College

Accommodation for officer cadets consists of two, three-story (single cabin) accommodation blocks, known Collins House and Farncomb House.

The College has five Divisions, for NEOC courses (see Section 4.4.1), each named after important Naval Officers (RAN, 2015d) who have each played a role in forging the ethos and history of the RAN, and include:

  • Clarkson Division;
  • Getting Division;
  • Moran Division;
  • Rankin Division; and
  • Waller Division.

Reserve personnel on the REOC (see Section 4.4.2) and MCEC (see Section 4.4.3) typically form the Hunter Division (named after Vice Admiral John Hunter).

4.2     Naval College Instructors and Training Teams

Within the Naval College there are a number of key personalities, who include:

  • Training Authority – Initial Training, Leadership and Management (TA-ITLM):
    • Head, TA-ITLM, Captain (OF-5); also CO of HMAS Creswell.
    • Executive Officer, HMAS Creswell, Commander (OF-4).
    • Training Commander, HMAS Creswell, Commander (OF-4): Responsible for delivery of officer Initial Entry Training and delivery of courses across the officers and sailors Leadership Management and Professional Development continuums.
    • Head, Training Systems, Lieutenant Commander (OF-3).
  • Officer Initial Training Faculty (OITF):
    • Head, OITF, Lieutenant Commander (OF-3).
    • CIO (Course Implementation Officer), OITF, Lieutenant (OF-2).
  • Reserve Lateral and Specialist Entry Faculty (RLSEF):
    • Head, RLSEF, Lieutenant Commander (OF-3); also Head, Naval Reserve Initial Entry Training Team (NRIETT).
    • Second-in-Command (2IC), NRIETT, ??? (OF-?).
    • Chief Instructor, NRIETT, ??? (OF-?).
    • Course Officer, NRIETT, Warrant Officer (OR-9).

4.3     Outline of RAN Initial Officer Training

There are six types of officer courses conducted at the naval college, namely:

  1. New Entry Officers’ Course (NEOC): is conducted twice annually for, up to 200 officers (RAN, 2013), both Regulars and Reserves and is delivered as a continuous 11-week (three phase) residential course at HMAS Creswell. “There are two NEOC intakes per year, end of Jan and end of July both will take a maximum of 100 candidates. Out of these ADFA candidates make up the majority of the numbers for the January intake. So most DEO candidates are in the July intake.” (The Australian Military Community, 2018).
  2. Reserve Entry Officers’ Course (REOC) (Phased Training): for Reserves only, delivered over two separate residential periods at HMAS Cerberus (e.g. 1 x 19 day period and 1 x 13 day period).
  3. Mid-Career Entry Course (MCEC): a two phase course, with phase one being delivered alongside the REOC.
  4. Undergraduate Entry Officers’ Course (UEOC): A 1-week introductory course to naval life.
  5. Warrant Officers and Senior Sailor Entry Officers’ Course (WOSSEOC): A 2-week course imparting non-specialist skills and knowledge in order to be an effective RAN officer.
  6. Lateral Initial Entry Course (LIET): A 4-week residential course imparting specific skills and knowledge in order to be an effective RAN officer or sailor.

All of the above courses, with the exception of WOSSEOC, must meet the physical requirements set out in Table 2 (Section 3.4.1).

4.3.1     New Entry Officers’ Course

The New Entry Officers’ Course (NEOC) is a, approximately, 5-month long residential course which teaches the attitudes, skills and knowledge (ASK) required by officer cadets in order to be an effective junior naval officer.

The first four weeks of Naval College are known as the Initial Training Period (ITP) and activities during this period run seven days a week. As a result ITP is intensive and free time is severely restricted, although the routine changes after the ITP. ITP teaches officer cadets:

  • The basics of military life;
  • Military discipline;
  • How to wear a uniform (with pride);
  • How to move around in a military manner; and
  • To correctly interact with other officers as well as sailors.

NEOC is about naval leadership, requiring both team member and team leader qualities, as well as the development of camaraderie, or ‘mateship,’ with fellow junior officers.

 Table 3: Outline of NEOC training
Area Description
Administration This time is reserved for miscellaneous tasks. These include, but are not limited to, attending medicals, uniform issue, social functions and paperwork. This time can also be used to keep in touch with family.
Communications These lessons teach communication skills within the military, including the format for verbal communications and the use of templates for written material. This is an important module, because officers are expected to be proficient communicators.
Divisional System The RAN’s Divisional System facilitates effective personnel management and the RANC creates the opportunity to experience it first-hand. Trainees are taught how the Divisional System is applied throughout the rest of the RAN and given a brief introduction to the role of the Divisional Officer (DO). Formal training as a DO comes later in the Naval Officer Leadership Courses (NOLC).
Equity & Diversity Awareness Being an equal opportunity employer, the RAN requires all its members to undergo Equity and Diversity (E&D) training. This course teaches the various ADF and Navy policies in regard to E&D and also the Equity Adviser Network, which exists to aid people in resolving E&D issues.
F88 Steyr Rifle Course The F88 Austeyr Rifle is the primary service weapon of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Training in how to use this weapon is conducted over a week and covers safe handling, how to strip and assemble it, as well as a live range shoot.
Leadership The job of a RAN officer is to lead by example. RANC provides lessons in leadership which includes learning how to apply the Navy’s military leadership model to various situations, as well as opportunities to develop leadership potential through numerous practical exercises.
Maritime Studies Maritime studies (boat-work) covers learning to drive HMAS Creswell’s work boats and the Navy’s Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).
Naval Weapons & Technology “What sort of guns do the ships have?” is often the first question asked of Navy personnel. NEOC covers the RAN’s range of weaponry and supporting technology such as radar, sonar etc.
WHS & Risk Management Induction The RAN takes very seriously its responsibility to provide a safe working environment. This course teaches the principles of Work Health and Safety and how they apply within the RAN.
Parade & Ceremonial Ceremonies, drills and marching are part of the military. Towards the end of the course, trainees take the Power of Command test – an assessment of drill and command knowledge.
Personal Development These lessons assist trainees identify personal strengths and weaknesses in themselves and others. They include application of Navy values as integral to moral and ethical leadership.
Physical Training Physical Training Instructors (PTIs) raise trainees’ physical fitness to required levels. PT includes what is known as Early Morning Activities (EMA), conducted at 0545h every second day. EMA activities include running, circuit training and pack marches, to name a few.
RAN History In order to take advantage of past mistakes and successes the course covers RAN history. Course work is assessed through an exam as well as a military history essay. The person who writes the best essay will receive the Naval Historical Society Prize from the reviewing officer at the graduation day ceremonies.
RAN Initial First Aid Course The RAN Initial First Aid Course is run over two and a half days and covers everything from Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Expired Air Resuscitation (EAR), to how to apply a Pressure Immobilisation Bandage (PIB) bandage to a snake bite, or even how to treat someone for hypothermia.
RAN Organisation This course covers RAN structure. It includes the rank and rating system, honours and awards, and the ships and establishments of the RAN.
Sea Familiarisation The first sea familiarisation experience for trainees is a weeklong adventure on board the College’s vessel, Seahorse Horizon, where the basics of seamanship learnt in the classroom are applied. In the last 24 hours of this trip each division takes a turn at command, overseen by Navy staff. The next exposure to sea will be on the four-week Sea Training Deployment. Each division will accompany a Major Fleet Unit (MFU), for example the Adelaide frigate HMAS Sydney, for whatever activities they are conducting. Trainees become crew members for this period, and are involved in all their activities. To appreciate the various departments on board ship, trainees also complete a task book during this time. Port visits, around Australia and overseas, are an additional advantage of this activity.
Security Acquaint Course This is a one-day course on how security works within the military and, in particular, the RAN.
Standard Combat Survivability This course is conducted at the RAN School of Sea Safety and Survivability (RANSSSS) located near the RANC. It covers threats to the ship and crew, which includes fighting fires, performing flood control, and reacting to various hazardous situations, commonly referred to as Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence (NBCD) training.
Survival at Sea A prerequisite for joining the RAN is serving at sea, which requires being able to abandon ship correctly. Such knowledge includes how to: wear a thermal suit, enter the water from the side of a ship, use the life jackets, enter a standard RAN life raft as well as attracting rescuers’ attention.
Systems Management These lessons cover the various systems employed by the RAN including Microsoft Office through to the personnel management systems.

4.3.2     Reserve Entry Officers’ Course

The Reserve Entry Officers’ Course (REOC) is for both reserve and mid-career officers, and is delivered by the RLSEF in four phases as outlined in Table 4. The first phase is a 16-day residential course which is followed by a series of residential and distance learning modules. The initial module at the RANC is the equivalent to a condensed version of the NEOC ITP.

The aim of the NEOC and the REOC courses are the same, and as a result the REOC is an adapted version of the NEOC course (Table 3); as reserve candidates are generally already qualified in their chosen field, the focus of the REOC is to teach the fundamental skills required of a naval officer.

Although the majority of training is delivered at HMAS Creswell, some training is delivered at sea aboard a major RAN vessel.

 Table 4: Outline of REOC training
Phase Description
1 Initial Officer Training (Residential) (IOT) (R)): a 16-day residential course delivered at RANC, HMAS Creswell.
2 Initial Officer Training Flexible (IOT (R)): seven flexible modules over no more than 12 months.
3 Pre-requisites for Sea: a 2-week residential course delivered at HMAS Creswell, consisting of:

  • Combat Survivability;
  • Survival at Sea; and
  • First Aid.
4 Sea Training Deployment (STD): Provides up to 2-weeks training aboard a major RAN vessel.

4.3.3     Mid-Career Entry Course

The Mid-Career Entry Course (MCEC) is a two/three phase course delivered by the RLSEF as outlined in Table 5, and is typically delivered alongside the REOC (see Section 4.3.2).

 Table 5: Outline of MCEC training
Phase Description
1 Delivered alongside REOC (Table 4).
2 For both ADFIS and Non ADFIS trainees (training usually delivered on separate dates).
This phase consists of:

  • Defence writing;
  • Defence Force Discipline Act;
  • Division Officer; and
  • RAN organisational assignments.
3 ADFIS trainees also undertake REOC Phase 3 (Table 4).

4.3.4     Undergraduate Entry Officers’ Course

The Undergraduate Entry Officers’ Course (UEOC) consists of a 1-week residential course delivered by the IOTF, and is designed to provide an insight into life in the RAN. Its main purpose is to enable individuals, as a junior naval officer undertaking university studies, to have a fundamental understanding of the RAN.

Upon completing their university degree individuals will attend the NEOC (see Section 4.3.1.), and for this reason the UEOC has no formal assessments.

Individuals on the UEOC scheme have their degrees paid for, as well as receiving a salary from the RAN. In return the individual will accrue what is known as a Return of Service Obligation (ROSO), which requires individuals to work for the RAN for a specific period determined by the length and cost of the degree.

Training during this period is a foundational version of the NEOC (Table 3).

4.3.5     Warrant Officer and Senior Sailor Entry Officers’ Course

The Warrant Officer and Senior Sailor Entry Officers’ Course (WOSSEOC) is a 2-week residential course delivered by the IOTF.

The course is designed to the impart non-specialist skills and knowledge required of a naval officer.

Topics on the WOSSEOC include:

  • Ethics;
  • Leadership;
  • Command and divisional system;
  • 10 minute presentation on the Navy Strategic Plan (delivered in week one);
  • Mess dinner: introduction to the social aspects of the Wardroom.

These topics are delivered via presentations and discussions, by both instructors and students.

RAN, RANR, RAN Reserve Logo4.3.6     Lateral Initial Entry Course

The Lateral Initial Entry Course (LIET) is a 4-week residential course delivered by the RLSEF.

The course is designed to deliver RAN specific skills and knowledge necessary for individuals to render effective service as an officer or sailor in the RAN. Students are given essential training regarding policy and legislation for leaders and managers, which when combined with their previous experience, will assist with their assimilation into the RAN.

Students are required to have completed certain online training prior to LIET, which includes:

  • Ethics and Fraud Awareness eLearning;
  • Security Awareness (Mandatory);
  • Workplace Behaviour Mandatory Awareness;
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs in the ADF;
  • Suicide Awareness in the ADF;
  • Australian Privacy Principles eAssessment;
  • Mortuary Affairs Level 1 Assessment; and
  • Sentinel Fundamentals.

4.4     Graduation

4.4.1     Graduation Event

Graduation events are held twice a year within the RANC for NEOC classes. Graduation activities for the NEOC are the end product and the final day of a 22-week course. The graduation incorporates all lessons learnt on the parade ground and during Commanding Officers Divisions.

NEOC will graduate as one unit, bearing arms, the Australian White Ensign (AWE) and the RAN Band. This event is customarily reviewed by the highest ranking Officer in the RAN, the Chief of Navy, although the Governor General of Australia has also reviewed these graduations due to the high profile of RAN officer training.

4.4.2     Prizes

Within the NEOC course a number of prizes are awarded, which include (RAN, 2012):

  • Australian Naval Institute Royal Australian Naval College Prize: awarded for the most outstanding officer-like qualities, exceptional leadership, peerless good influence, and outstanding dedication to the naval values of honour, honesty, courage, integrity and loyalty. Diligent application and success in studies is also considered.
  • E.S. Cunningham Cup, sponsored by Raytheon Australia: awarded for outstanding leadership, officer like qualities, and good influence amongst colleagues on course. Diligent application and success in studies is also considered.
  • Governor General’s Cup: awarded for ability, teamwork and outstanding sportsmanship whilst on course.
  • W.H. Harrington Memorial Prize: awarded for outstanding participation, support and followership.
  • Eric Elton Mayo Memorial Prize: awarded for the highest levels of perseverance and dedication, and has shown the most improvement in self-discipline and Power of Command.
  • Rear Admiral Hammond Memorial Sword: awarded for self-discipline, resolution, undeviating application and good influence among peers.
  • Australian Naval Institute Sea Training Deployment Prize: awarded for the most outstanding officer-like qualities, leadership, peerless good influence and diligent application to their task book and journal while on sea training deployment.
  • Commander Robert Gray, DSO, RAN Perpetual Cup: awarded for outstanding individual athletic accomplishment (male and female).
  • Commodore Sir James Ramsay Prize: awarded for the best academic performance.
  • Naval Historical Society Prize: awarded for the best naval history essay.

4.5     Phase 2: Officers’ Initial Employment Training

With the exception of WOSSEOC, all officers will move on to employment training, known as Category Training, at a Phase 2 training establishment, known as a Category School.


5.0.     Another Perspective: Training, Inspections and Parades

If you would like to read some interesting, if not thought-provoking, articles on military inspections, parades and basic training then view:


6.0     Useful Links

Listed below are some links which the reader may find useful:

6.1     Useful Documents

6.2     References

Crawford, R. (2014) A Veteran Submariner Takes Helm at Creswell. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 November, 2015].

Griggs, R. (2013) Renaming of Divisions at RAN College and RAN Recruit School. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 November, 2015].

Ralston, M. (2011) Navy Training Today. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 November, 2015].

RAN (Royal Australian Navy) (2012) Navy Officers March Out To Leading Careers. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2015].

RAN (Royal Australian Navy) (2013) Navy’s Newest Leaders on Parade. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2015].

RAN (Royal Australian Navy) (2015a) Recruit School Mission. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 November, 2015].

RAN (Royal Australian Navy) (2015b) Recruit School History. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 November, 2015].

RAN (Royal Australian Navy) (2015c) Recruit School Instructors. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 November, 2015].

RAN (Royal Australian Navy) (2015d) Divisions. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2015].

The Australian Military Community (2018) Officer Selection Board, OSB, RMC, ADFA, Officer entry NEOC. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 03 September, 2018].