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Deployment generates trained engineers

The recipients of Cert 2, 3 and 4s on Nov. 5.

The recipients of Cert 2, 3 and 4s on Nov. 5.

Katelyn Moores, MARPAC PA ~

While visiting HMCS Vancouver in Brisbane, Australia, last month, Rear-Admiral Art McDonald presented 18 awards, certificates and promotions to members of the crew. Six of those presentations were for new Marine Engineer certifications, including four Cert 2Es, one Cert 3 and one Cert 4.

“Generating forward is all about getting the training done at sea and on time so we can continue to achieve operational excellence throughout the fleet,” said RAdm McDonald.

“These engineers have just successfully completed a very intensive training process and now we have six new certifications on board HMCS Vancouver. That’s really a remarkable success, both for the ship and for the Royal Canadian Navy.”

LS Christopher Albin earned his Cert 2E while on board the ship. He was attached posted from HMCS Calgary for WestPloy and said he’s very appreciative of the opportunity to complete his training on deployment.

“Having everyone else training around you allows you to bounce ideas off each other and learn things you wouldn’t necessarily notice on your own,” says LS Albin. “If I’d been ashore, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity for the hands-on training that allowed me to get my certification done as quickly and effectively as I did sailing in Vancouver.”

According to the ship’s Engineering Officer, Lt(N) Tony Carter, forward Force Generation deployments such as WestPloy 16 are ideal conditions for certification training. While deployed at sea, it is easier to simulate the realism of an engineering problem or emergency, including aspects such as communicating options and recommendations to the Officer of the Watch. The realism of the training environment better prepares the trainees to assume the responsibilities of their new classifications. Another advantage of completing certifications during a deployment is that it allows for a period of consolidation of knowledge during the return trip home.

“Consolidation is an important aspect of the training system,” says Lt(N) Carter. “Similar to obtaining a driver’s license, the certification demonstrates a basic competency to perform the duties and responsibilities of the certification positions. The true learning begins once they adopt their new positions.”

As Marine Engineers, these sailors are responsible for operating and monitoring the ship’s mechanical equipment, such as diesel and gas turbine propulsion engines, fuel and lubricating systems, refrigeration and air conditioning equipment and ship’s steering equipment. During the deployment, trainees completed regular drills on machinery emergency response procedures and regularly conducted practice boards, in addition to their own individual studying, to help prepare for their boards. It’s a highly focussed and intensive training regime that has proven to be very effective.

“It’s a lot of work and can be very tiresome, but you’re more focused and you get to have your hands on the equipment instead of looking at a book,” said LS Kristian Pretty, who also earned his Cert 2E during the deployment. “There’s a real advantage to learning at sea.”

Since departing Esquimalt five months ago, Vancouver has been operating extensively throughout the Pacific region. They have participated in two major exercises, RIMPAC and Kakadu, and have visited several countries in the Asia-Pacific. They have also been testing and evolving the war fighting capabilities of their warship, as a newly modernized Halifax-class frigate.

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