Ben Easton - BSc (Hons) Chemistry graduate

Current employer: Royal Navy

Current job title: Warfare Officer

Current location: Dartmouth

“I think Plymouth is the best University that I could have gone to: my course was very practical, the lectures are passionate about what they do, the social scene is fantastic, and the opportunity to experience living in a large city that is so close to the beaches of Devon and Cornwall provides a really unique experience.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I joined the Royal Navy in September 2014 and entered into my initial officer training. This consisted of ten weeks of militarisation, think field exercises, weapons handling, parade training as well as leadership training and being turned from a civilian into military personnel. This was followed up by a further 20 weeks of navy specific training. Three weeks at sea aboard HMS DARING, Sea survival and firefighting training, lectures in meteorology, Ship design, and systems and communications. This culminated in our passing-out-parade where friends and family witnessed us becoming Royal Navy Officers. Now i’m into my professional training which is all about being able to drive warships all over the world.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

Our Assessed Basic Leadership Excerise (ABLE) was a tough five days in the ‘field’ on Dartmoor; we carried Bergens, rifles, and task equipment up and down Tors, whilst performing tasks that then, if successful, would enable you to move onto the next stage of training. Although I really enjoyed the experience it was probably the hardest thing I have done.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

A couple of experiences really stand out, and certainly during the toughest times I have laughed the hardest. It’s the people that you work with that make everything in the navy worthwhile. I remember during our final assessed exercise – MARitime Leadership exercise (MARL) – my friend and I were sent ashore to collect some data on an enemy stronghold. We both jumped out of the boat and on hitting the water he fell in up to his neck setting his lifejacket off. We started laughing uncontrollably and then spent the next half an hour trying to do a covert recon with a bright yellow life jacket half inflated hanging around his neck. Its times like that, when you haven’t slept, haven’t showered, and are under pressure to perform that you end up laughing and realise why you joined.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Make sure you definitely want to do it. I have never looked back but there will be some hard times ahead and it is easy to quit. It’s a very achievable course; you just need the right frame of mind otherwise it’s easy to get disheartened, especially if you don’t pass an exercise first time. And get fit: join the gym, go running. Make sure that you are the fittest you have ever been when you arrive. They will make you fitter but a good foundation really helps.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

During my time at Plymouth University I was able to become the Chairman of University Plymouth Hockey Club which taught me how to deal with and lead people. This was valuable experience that I use almost every day. I was also a student ambassador and was able to use my experience of talking in front of large groups to my benefit during my training.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

I think Plymouth is the best university that I could have gone to: my course was very practical, the lectures are passionate about what they do, the social scene is fantastic, and the opportunity to experience living in a large city that is so close to the beaches of Devon and Cornwall provides a really unique experience. The cost of living in Plymouth tends to be cheaper than most other universities in the country which means you can really enjoy yourself whilst studying.