Visit to HMS SULTAN 23 February 2023

The Shipwrights’ company is very grateful to the Commanding Officer of HMS SULTAN, Captain Jo Deakin OBE RN, for hosting an excellent Affiliates Day visit to the Royal Navy’s engineering training establishment in Gosport on 23 February 2023.

The visit was designed to rekindle affiliations with the many groups and associations affiliated with HMS SULTAN, some of which have been forced in abeyance by the effects of the Covid pandemic.

HMS SULTAN, based on a 200 acre site in Gosport, is the home of Marine and Aviation engineering training for the Royal Navy. The training courses provided on-site range from initial engineering courses for new trainees, who have been in the service for only 12 weeks on arrival, through increasingly advanced academic, technical and operational training for all ranks, up to Post Graduate training g for Nuclear Engineers. In addition training is also provided to international navy trainees from Australia, New Zealand and Canada, along with Army and Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel.

The tour of the establishment included presentations on the development of modern training delivery methods, which are required to engage and develop new trainees who are inherently moreadept at managing their lives ‘on-line’. It was fascinating to see how the training delivery approach was focussed on facilitating the learning styles of different trainees rather than a ‘one size fits all’ delivery approach, which would be less demanding for the trainers. While the importance of the use of technology in training delivery was to the fore, a tour of the workshops to view the ‘skill of hand’ challenges required to be met by all trainees, clearly showed that ‘haptic’ skill continues to be a key element in the skill set of the Royal Navy’s engineering branches.

A demonstration was provided of the Brickwoods Field Gun race, as an example of the type of non-engineering activity undertaken in HMS SULTAN, which assist in developing the Character and Leadership abilities of trainees; there is more to being a technician in the Royal Navy than being technically competent! An enjoyable lunch in the wardroom afforded the opportunity to network among the many groups and organisations taking part in the visit, before the afternoon tours and a presentation on the complexities of Submarine training rounded off the day.

Our sincere thanks to Captain Deakin and the whole of her training team, whose upbeat, positive attitude to their challenges was mirrored in the attitudes and behaviours of the trainees throughout the establishment.