In October 2018, Master Chloë, Liveryman Paul Mott and Mike Cooney, partner of Liveryman Kasmin Cooney, were welcomed by Commanding Officer Captain Peter Towell and many of his training staff on a fascinating visit with other liveries to HMS Sultan, which is home to 1800 trainees and staff at any one time. There were a number of briefs and live demonstrations of some of the training facilities, with much interest in everything to do with the new QEC carrier – which was experienced by the visitors via a virtual reality headset. The morning was spent at the Defence School of Marine Engineering (DSMarE), and the afternoon at the Royal Navy Air Engineering and Sea Survival School. We rode in the Fueller-sponsored Steam Lorry Sentinel between sections.
Liveryman Paul Mott poses in front of the Steam Lorry
It was interesting to learn that all submarine-related training is moving to a new purpose-built building at HMNB Clyde, for which preparations are well in hand. Sultan has a focus, in preparing for the future, on greater use of virtual training, so that simulated real marine engineering environments can be experienced to aid learning ahead of deployment onto actual ships, with mistakes taking equipment beyond its limits unable to damage real equipment, yet still able to be learnt from. Autonomous boats are also beginning to be developed, and the required skill set of naval technicians is expected to shift. Integrated platform management systems concepts aim to enable the remote digital monitoring and optimisation of all ship systems.
A demonstration of training a helicopter marshal
For those of us who have visited Sultan before, in my case some years ago, there was reflection on how things are changing – each new generation of navy ships has far fewer crew, yet they must be ever more skilled. Sultan is constantly adapting, adopting new training aides and techniques to help the RN achieve the new skills.
As part of the visit, Chloë was very proud to present presented the Worshipful Company of Fuellers DSMarE Staff Award to CPO Brookes. This is awarded annually to the instructor who has displayed exceptional support to trainees allowing them to realise their own potential.
A silver service lunch was taken in the Wardroom.