Navy ditches ‘grillings’ as it modernizes officer training in the modern age

Navy ditches ‘grillings’ as it modernizes officer training in the modern age

The Royal Navy is to remove a 200-year-old tradition in which the ship’s captain “grills” for new officers and replaces it with a “holistic” feedback session in a major shake-up.

After a sailor’s first incarnation at sea, they were usually asked by the ship’s captain once ashore where they would demonstrate what they had learned during the three months of joint fleet time.

Known as the Navy, the assessment marked the culmination of an officer’s official training.

The tradition, described by the Royal Navy’s Training Management Group in its review as a ‘barbecue’, will now be replaced by the officer expected to explain how they can respond to an emergency, demonstrating leadership, knowledge and the ability to think about the legs.

The first group of 80 newly commissioned officers will review the revised joint fleet time and final assessment at the end of August.

In addition to the new final assessment, the updated training will involve a significantly shorter “learning journal”, also known as an exercise book, that officers can complete on board.

The education will be more modular and the students will work in each department rather than their chosen specialty industry like logistics or warfare.

Trainees will also be encouraged to overshadow senior assessments, while the final assessment is no longer performed solely by the Commander-in-Chief, while other members of the ship’s company are encouraged to sit on the panel to build their command, leadership and management skills.

The Navy said the review would introduce some of the “biggest changes in decades” and would “reflect the way industries rate high-flying graduates.”

Meanwhile, the final training package is designed with templates for development journals and ship-specific assessments hosted on the Navy’s learning portal to be “robust in the modern age” so that those providing training can access them remotely while ships are deployed.

The Navy said they made the changes to adapt the experience “making it more relevant” to the Navy, which introduces most junior officers to the daily running, routine and life aboard an operational warship.

It also said the training package had not been reviewed for some time and “falls behind the industry standard for similar training for junior managers”.

Lieutenant Alexandra Head, who has led the changes, said: “The new assessment is designed to provide contemporary students with holistic feedback in line with current coaching and mentoring practices that enable individuals to identify areas for self-improvement.”

The lieutenant chief added that “people today expect modern training”.

“Our naval training should reflect that,” she said. “This is a different way of assessing Royal Navy officers, much more modern, much more in line with the commercial world and also very much in line with the expectations of the candidates.”

Colonel Ade Morley, Commander of the Royal Navy Training Management Group, said:

“This review of our sea-based core training allows our young officers to expand their skills and continue their learning journeys on board ships, and modern learning and development techniques ensure that students are engaged in their training.

“It is important for a modern fleet that individuals can learn anywhere.”


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