Recently a selection of Gateway Mechanical, Electrical and Engineering students had the opportunity to visit the Linton Army base. The aim of this visit was to introduce the students to the variety of trades available within the New Zealand Army.
At each workshop/section that the students visited they received a presentation from a current serving soldier, be this a fully qualified tradeperson or an apprentice. Each of these presentations provided the students with a balanced picture of what it was like working as a tradeperson/apprentice within the New Zealand Army. Further, and particularly appealing to the students was every presentation came with a hands-on demonstration of that trade. These presentations/demonstrations varied from looking at/examining personal weapons such as Glock pistols, to watching and examining the bridge laying capabilities of the Army Engineers. The latter involved the Engineers quite literally placing from the back of a specialised bridging vehicle a 12m bridging span with a 50 tonne load capacity.
The students were also privileged to spend time looking at trades that supported the Combat Arms element of the New Zealand Army, namely those associated with the Artillery and Mounted Rifles. Whilst at the Artillery workshop students were able to examine up close the 105mm light field gun and the different components that make up this weapon.
A favourite with several students was the Support Squadron of the Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles. Students were able to get up close and personal with the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV), again from a tradesperson's point of view. Having complete CAT power packs (engines), turret sections with and without the main guns, and the guns themselves literally by the sides of these vehicles in various states of maintenance and repair, allowed the students to really see the part played by the tradeperson.
A big thank you must go out to Alex Jansen (Apprentice Co-ordinator for the New Zealand Army) who organised the visit, and all the Army personnel who gave up their time to present and demonstrate the various pieces of military hardware currently in use with the New Zealand Army.