Putting his mind to it

2 April 2024

Royal New Zealand Navy Lieutenant George Sinclair is encouraging anyone with a "problem-solving mindset" to consider pursuing an engineering role with Defence.

Lieutenant Sinclair jumped at the opportunity to take part in the exchange program with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Engineering Officer School and said the forging of close friendships was one of the best parts.

“It’s been a great experience so far. I have learned a lot and have made some lifelong friendships. A highlight has definitely been making new friends, playing sport and seeing more of Australia,” he said.

Lieutenant Sinclair joined the Royal New Zealand Navy as a sailor in 2009 and gained his technical rate as an electronics technician. 

He commissioned as an officer in 2020 and is currently in the second phase of his studies in the RAN Engineering Officer Application Course.

Currently posted to HMAS Stalwart, Lieutenant Sinclair is responsible for assisting the ship’s engineering department. However, his specialist experience with close-in weapon systems has also enabled him to give further support to the overall mission and day-to-day operations.

In studying as an engineering officer, Lieutenant Sinclair said taking a break from the physical work was the most significant challenge initially.

“Transferring to an officer role was fairly smooth, but it took a moment to get used to stepping away from the tools and into more of a delegating role where you have to trust in the work of others," he said. 

"Also, understanding and being involved in the higher level decisions around policy and administration has been an eye-opener and certainly keeps me very busy.”

After completing his studies with the RAN Engineering Officer Application Course, Lieutenant Sinclair hopes to further develop his career as an engineering officer with the Royal New Zealand Navy’s Weapons Engineering Department and is urging others with similar interests and skills to also consider an engineering pathway.

“If you have an interest in diagnosing and solving problems and understanding how stuff works, then you can’t go wrong with an engineering role, particularly if you’re skilled in maths and physics,” Lieutenant Sinclair said.

“For an engineer in Defence, you also have a unique opportunity to work with cutting-edge, specialist equipment not available to other industries. There are lots of different roles and opportunities in engineering and I would encourage anyone to give it a go.



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