Max Atherton completed Year 12 at St Columba Anglican School in 2017. Following his graduation, Max successfully applied for a place in the Royal Australian Navy’s Gap Year during 2018. Places in the Navy’s Gap Year are highly sought after, and Max was one of only 37 successful candidates from several thousand applicants. Max is in no doubt that his record of “community service” as a volunteer surf lifesaver and professional lifeguard contributed to his application’s success.
Initially, Max attended the Navy’s 11-week Recruit Training Program at HMAS Cerberus in Victoria, graduating at the end of April 2018. He and the other Gap Year recruits then attended a seamanship course before embarking on a tour of RAN facilities around Australia, including HMAS Stirling in Western Australian, HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin, HMAS Cairns in, well, Cairns, HMAS Albatross at Nowra, and finally the Royal Naval College at HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay.
Following this comprehensive tour of the Navy’s operations, Max was posted to Fleet Base East, HMAS Kuttabul, at Garden Island, Sydney. For the remainder of the year, he gained experience across a wide range of operational activities but developed a keen interest in electronics. This led to him signing on for a further five year’s service, having successfully applied to attend an electronic technician’s training program back at Cerberus in Victoria. The training is comprehensive, and takes him through to the end of the first quarter of next year, after which he hopes to serve as a weapons system officer on one of the Navy’s frigates or destroyers. After gaining some operational experience, he will eventually seek to attend a commissioned officer’s training course at the Royal Naval College.
Max recommends anyone considering a career in the military should first seek to enrol in the Gap Year program in their preferred service; Army, Navy or Air Force. It is an excellent way to gain a good understanding of the full range of opportunities available and whether military service is right for you, before signing up for a set period of service.