Dave Lassam - Navy training
With the Navy training, basically, you are brought in as the subgroup you want to be, so I was recruited as a medic. Army tend to recruit you as a soldier. You do your recruit training and then they will say, "Well, you're a cook, you're a cook you're a cook, you're a rifleman, you're a rifleman." A bit different to us. We would go to recruit school, of course, which I did.
Before your medical training, you get to recruit training and that was 12 weeks. I think it's 11 now, they cut a few things out, not much but save money anywhere they can. So we did 12 weeks, and it was how to go from civilian to sailor, what are the rules, how to iron your clothes. And it might sound silly, but there's some people who Mum and Dad always did that and they never knew what an iron was but you had to be trained in how to iron a naval uniform correctly, how to shine your shoes, how to keep your room clean, because you don't get a single room you live with other people, especially in the Navy, when we live at sea, you're living like this and it can get on your nerves. People can annoy you. So you have to learn how to live together and work as a team.
I think the team part of it's very important and once they start building at the early stages of that, that then goes right through your career and that's always worked for me. So again, with Navy, we have the 12-week course we learned all these things. By the end of it, you have a graduation parade. So you've gone from recruit to what we call Seaman Star, and that's a little asterisk next to your name.
It means you haven't been trained as anything, but you're trained so you can march round, you can shoot a weapon and so if you had to be sent to battle, you could basically do something right at that point. But then you go off and you individually sit in courses which differ in length from four weeks for a say an officer steward, through to 18 months for technical cyber doing electrics or something like that on the ship.