Navy

Coronavirus: How HMS Sultan Is Using Technology To Teach Trainee Engineers

Engineering training at HMS Sultan has continued thanks to the use of social distancing and technology.

The Royal Navy has turned to technology to help continue training its next generation of engineers.

Whilst the majority of training at HMS Sultan was paused during the coronavirus outbreak, some lessons have been carried out online.

Trainees and instructors have both been wearing body cameras to live stream tasks and tutorials.

Commander Antony Quinn, Commander Training, Defence School of Marine Engineering, told Forces News: "We had to continue some training because this training was essential for the fleet.

"So, training didn't actually stop at Sultan but the majority of training was paused to allow our population of staff and trainees to adhere to the Public Health England guidelines of remaining at home.

"During that pause period, we had a small team that stayed here to look at how we would restart again.

"We looked at how we could adapt our teaching methods, we could adapt the environment, we could put some of the training online, for example, and we spent a lot of effort over the last couple of months being ready to restart."

Social distancing measures have also been put in place at the Gosport base where up to 6,000 trainees pass through each year.

As a result, instructors are unable to come within two metres and the body cameras are instead being used to both teach and observe the trainees' work.

Training at HMS Sultan during coronavirus outbreak 220520 CREDIT BFBS
Up to 6,000 trainees pass through HMS Sultan every year.

There have also been changes to the curriculum at HMS Sultan because of the pandemic.

The phase two course, which usually runs for 21 weeks, has now been shortened to 13-and-a-half weeks.

Lieutenant Commander Sam Balmond, from the Royal Navy Air Engineering and Survival School, said: "Certain parts of the courses have had to have been removed.

"By working a six-day working week here...the trainees, by and large, are getting the same quality and fidelity of training and indeed the same content."

Air Engineering Technician Tristan Hubbard, a phase two trainee, said whilst it is frustrating, the trainees are "just happy to finish [the] course as soon as [possible]" and start their "job properly".

The Royal Navy continued its basic training programme at HMS Raleigh during the coronavirus pandemic, following a number of measures including social distancing.

Last week, the British Army resumed basic training at a reduced capacity after a pause over the outbreak. 

Like the Navy, the Royal Air Force also continued its basic training programme during the crisis.