Navy Reserve

Choose a part-time role that adds an exciting new dimension to your life and career; and offers flexible hours, tax-free pay, opportunities to travel and unique experiences.

Excitement and adventure that gives something back Excitement and adventure that gives something back

Excitement and adventure that gives something back

Working both ashore and at sea, thousands of men and women enjoy rewarding careers in the Navy Reserve. Some choose roles that expand the skills they use in their everyday jobs, while others prefer to do something completely different. All share the pride of giving something back to their country.

 People from all backgrounds join the Navy Reserve to:  People from all backgrounds join the Navy Reserve to:

Rewarding reasons for everyday Aussies to join

  • Do something different, exciting and worthwhile
  • Get extra training and experience in their trade or profession
  • Make new friends in a dynamic team environment
  • Travel around Australia and overseas, and
  • Help with community projects and disaster relief.

A flexible commitment and rewarding work

For Officers, there are two, two-week residential training phases (plus distance learning) and a short sea phase. For Sailors, residential training takes 5 weeks (which can be split into 2 phases if preferred).

After that you will normally be expected to serve for at least 20 days a year. This could involve an evening each week and/or a number of weekends or extended periods away at sea. Naturally it helps if you live near a Navy base though it's not essential; and we do our best to make sure your service fits in with your work and family commitments.

Your primary responsibility as a Reserve is to support Navy capability in your chosen job. Members of the Reserve also gain great satisfaction from supporting humanitarian and peacekeeping missions overseas, and helping communities in need closer to home.

A great lifestyle plus generous benefits

Most people join the Reserve for the excitement and camaraderie, the challenging work ashore, or the opportunity to travel the world. But the Navy offers many material benefits too:

World-class training that gets you ahead

Most Reserve candidates are already qualified in a trade or profession, so initial training courses concentrate on fundamental naval skills, preparing you for life at sea and ashore. Many basic employment courses have National accreditation, which will make you more employable in the future.

Reserve Entry Officer Course


Phase 1: Initial training

Location: HMAS Creswell, Jervis Bay NSW

Duration: Two weeks



Phase 2: Eight modules covering communication, history, defence studies and more

Location: Distance learning from home

Duration: Self-paced



Phase 3: Combat Survivability, Survival at Sea and First Aid training

Location: HMAS Creswell, Jervis Bay NSW

Duration: Two weeks



Phase 4: Familiarisation period

Location: At sea aboard a Navy vessel

Duration: Two weeks


Reserve General Entry Sailor Recruit Course


Phase 1: Reserve General Entry Sailor Recruit Course - initial training

Location: HMAS Cerberus, Westernport VIC

Duration: Three weeks covering basic Navy knowledge, swimming, physical; fitness and parade training


Phase 2: Combat survivability, survival at sea and first aid training

Location: HMAS Cerberus, Westernport VIC

Duration: Two weeks at a mutually convenient time

Depending on course availability, it may be possible to undertake both phases in one continuous five-week block.


The option to work full time

If you choose to, you may be eligible to undertake periods of Continuous Full Time Service. This means your salary will be taxed but you'll receive generous superannuation along with free medical and dental and subsidised accommodation.

Significant benefits for your employer too

Your employer will benefit greatly from the management and vocational skills you are taught in the Navy Reserve, and the character-building lifestyle you'll experience.

Your employer's business will be stronger with a Reserve in its ranks, and will have higher corporate status for supporting the ADF. The training you receive will help you:

  • Acquire new skills in your trade or profession
  • Be positive and goal-oriented
  • Make quick, objective decisions
  • Manage time and resources efficiently
  • Be self-disciplined and self-reliant
  • Be a good team player
  • Become a better manager and leader

If eligible, your employer can receive compensation for your absence through the Defence Reserves Support Employer Support Payment Scheme. Employers are encouraged to find out more about the Navy Reserve at discovery events (For details see the Defence Reserves Support website).

How to approach your employer

Many supportive employers have Navy Reserves on their payrolls and are aware of all the benefits as well as what it entails. But for those who are less familiar with the Navy Reserve, it's important to communicate all the upsides, getting your employer as motivated as you are.

Start by being positive

Tell your employer you’re looking for a new challenge that will test and expand your skills for the benefit of the community and your country, as well as your everyday job. Let them know becoming a Navy Reserve will satisfy this ambition; give them plenty of notice; and work with them to manage your Reserve commitments.

Talk about the training

Explain to your employer that the training you receive will help you be more effective at your job, by broadening your skill-set and strengthening your personal attributes.

Navy training is designed to make you more positive and goal-oriented, able to prioritise tasks and make quick, objective decisions. The Navy will also work on your time management, quality control standards and adherence to safe practices.

Explain the personal development

Some of the enhanced skills and character traits you’ll bring to your full-time job as a result of your time with the Navy Reserve will include leadership, management and teamwork skills; self-discipline and reliance, initiative, and punctuality. Again, these are attributes your employer should place great value on.

Be prepared to answer questions

  • If your employer is concerned about the commitment, reassure them that it may be as few as 20 days a year. However you must be honest about the upfront training which can take a number of weeks either in one block or spread out across your first year.
  • Think in advance about how your work can be covered while you’re away, so your employer knows you care about things running smoothly in your absence.
  • If they want to know who covers your pay, tell them they may be eligible to receive compensation through the Employer Support Payment Scheme.
  • Remind your employer that people like doing business with companies that give something back. Your company’s commitment to the Navy Reserve will help position them as an organisation of choice, for supporting both their employees and the national interest.

We've produced an Employer’s Information Leaflet you can download, print and give to your employer. It covers much of the information provided here. more about the Navy Reserve at discovery events (For details see the Defence Reserves Support website).

Find out more about Defence Reserves

Meet the people who serve part-time, discover what's expected of Reserves, learn about the new skills you'll acquire and more.