If you’re 12 and a half and over, and under the age of 18, an Australian Citizen, then you have a big opportunity that is out in your local community, right here, right now.

Alexander Aloschi-Hopfner is a Regular Contributor at Awards Victoria does Australian Navy Cadets (ANC) as part of his Duke of Ed. In this month’s contribution, he focuses on the ANC, what it is and what could be a big benefit to your life.

The Australian Navy Cadets (ANC) is a huge organisation run by the Australian Department of Defence. The ANC is set in a military-like environment which focuses on many aspects such as teamwork, water activities, personal development in youth and adulthood life. It is an organisation that develops confidence, pride and self-discipline, whilst having fun and making loads of new friends along the way in their cadet time.

The ANC focuses on areas such as how to communicate effectively, sailing and seamanship. You will be receiving free Navy uniforms provided by the Australian Government however you will need to return your uniform when you leave cadets. The ANC also provides a strong commitment to the Australian community and thousands of young Australians have improved their lives by learning citizenship though seamanship during their time in the ANC, found in a 2011 case study done by the University of Melbourne (UoM).

The UoM study in 2011 found that the Australian Defence Force Cadets organisations (ADF Cadets), comprising the ANC , Australian Army Cadets (AAC) and Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC), are making a significant contribution to youth development. This is because they create new opportunities for young people to build on their strengths (personally and as a team) and to develop growth areas in youth development.

A cadet during their celebration getting Training Ship of the year. Photo by: ABIS Chantell Bianchi  Photo courtesy: Royal Australian Navy © Commonwealth of Australia

It is said by the UoM that “Communities need young people’s contributions as much as they ever did in the past compared to now and the future.”This is because our youth are full of ideas about individual skills and abilities but some people don’t know where to express their ideas. The ANC listens to all ideas and tries to take them into major consideration.

The ANC is conducted by approximately 500 trained staff (from Cadet Data, CRESD, Dec 2013) Australia wide who make your time at cadets very enjoyable. In Australia there are an estimated 2800 cadets in nearly 90 Australian Training Ships (from Cadet Data, CRESD, Dec 2013). The Australian Defence Force also runs the AAC and the AAFC which tally up to a total of around 25,000 cadets (from Cadet Data, CRESD, Dec 2013) who are part of the ADF Cadets.

The ANC host many events every year, and you could be eligible to apply for an event. In 2013 an event opportunity for cadets was the International Fleet Review held in NSW which commemorated 100 years of the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet entry into Sydney Harbour. Hundreds of cadets from all over Australia attended this event of about 2 weeks. Some cadets say it was a “big experience of my life time, if this happened over and over, I would do it without getting sick to death of it.” – Senior Cadet.

In Victoria alone there are 11 units spread throughout Victoria with approximately 335 cadets and 74 staff members. To find you local navy cadet unit, visit here.

Cadets marching during the International Fleet Review in Sydney 2013. Photo by: ABIS James Whittle. Photo courtesy: Royal Australian Navy © Commonwealth of Australia

Cadet units in Victoria run programs once a week. All units are different from each other and each unit runs their program once a week on a particular day and the units conduct all sorts of activities each week. Mostly during your time at cadets you’ll be doing marching, working in your work book to gain a promotion, being active citizens in your local community, being a leader and getting involved in  adventurous and endeavour activities & programs.

I know what you are possibly thinking; why cadets? Why not another youth development organisation or the AAC or the AAFC?

The Australian Navy Cadets is a unique organisation that aspires to help you and guide your life in a positive direction. It can possibly help you become a leader in your adult life. From the study released by the UoM, it tells us people today who are leaders have at least been part of a youth program. This tells us that leaders now could be a potential leader in our future, maybe even running for government.  You never know, anything is possible.

The UoM asked some cadets, cadet staff, parents of cadets and some high school Principals who had cadets in their schools what they thought about how cadets may help and develop their lives.

Some said that “Cadets help me/them to develop teamwork skills”, some have also said that “Cadets helps me/them to know what is the right thing to do and to behave that way.”

The ANC supports and follows the same core values as the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), which are: Honour, Honesty, Courage, Integrity and Loyalty. These core values help guide their behaviour and how cadets treat other people; this also defines what is important to the wider ADF Cadets, and our community.

The ANC contributes to an individual’s social development by:

  • encouraging pride in your life, community and nation,
  • giving you the chance to be a better citizens in your community,
  • developing good working habits, organisational skills and life skills, and
  • providing a supportive and safe environment.

The ANC provides a positive focus on the RAN and the ANC in the eyes of the public, as the RAN and ANC share the same uniform and styles.

A cadet told the UoM that “If you are into adventure, you’ll get as much as you can handle as an Australian Navy Cadet. You’ll get to go sailing, hiking, canoeing, and camping. Plus you’ll learn everything about seamanship, from navigational training to Naval signals and communication. You may even get to participate in a sea trip in one of the Navy’s ships, sail on the Young Endeavour or travel interstate or overseas. As well as the fun and games, you’ll learn first aid and pass muster in parade training.”

The ANC holds events every year. In Victoria they host many events such as the Sail Development Weekend where some units in Victoria go to another unit to show off and develop their sailing skills.  This event is open every year during a long weekend or during a school holiday. A major event held in Australia-wide is the Annual Continuous Training (ACT) where units from an area go to a Navy or Military base and you can choose a course such as Cooking, Engineering, Further Seamanship, Drill & Guard Squad.  There are other interesting courses too which will offer you rewarding experiences. An ACT usually goes for one week, depending on where you live.

The ANC gives you a work book/course book, so you can write down notes when you learn something interesting. The course book tells you what you should know about your rank and information about some pretty cool stuff. After you finish your course book, you will then be tested and hopefully promoted to your new rank. There are 8 ranks in the ANC. Each rank you get promoted to involves more responsibility, more leadership and many more opportunities.

If you think the ANC is something for you, then check out the Australian Navy Cadets Website, or the Australian Defence Force Cadets Website to find out more about the ADF Cadets. To find a unit near you, find out here.

Don’t forget, the ANC is always open for people between 12.5 and 18. Why wait? Give it a go!

If you have a question just itching to be answered, email our ANC Recruitment Team. Before you do, check out the Frequently Asked Questions pagecheck here!

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