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Junior Officer Common Training (JOCT)

The Junior Officer Common Training (JOCT) Course is the first course any new Officer undertakes on joining the Navy. The course is 22 weeks long. Up to two courses are held each year in January, and July.

The aim of this course is to take you from a civilian to a competent, capable junior officer able to demonstrate the command and leadership knowledge and skills required of a Navy Junior Officer.

It is also aimed at confirming your suitability for life in the Navy and preparing you for specialist training. Junior Officer Common Training is delivered by the Leadership Training Squadron, part of the Leadership Development Group.

Phases of JOCT Training

The course is split into four phases.

Phase One – Induction

The first phase of the course focuses on exposing you to life in the Navy.  Trainees are instructed in basic service knowledge, discipline, parade, and kit preparation. This phase focuses on ‘followership’ and teamwork. There is also a focus on developing a high level of physical and mental fitness.

Physical Training will be conducted at all times throughout training to improve physical fitness and ensure that you can meet and maintain the RNZN fitness standard.  Physical training includes formal activities involving doubling (running), swimming, confidence course runs and sports. Physical training is designed to provide physically demanding activities for all trainees and promotes morale good health and good habits.
This first phase of training takes place at the Devonport Naval Base and at the Tamaki Leadership Centre in Whangaparaoa.

Phase Two – Core Mariner and Military Skills Training

The second phase of training is conducted mostly at Devonport Naval Base but includes time at Tamaki Leadership Centre and adventure training.  This phase provides the basic core mariner and military skills needed to be an Officer in the Navy. This includes damage control training (fire fighting and flood training) and sea survival training to prepare for operational service at sea.  Also included is a voyage on the Spirit of New Zealand and training on the RNZN Sail Training Craft.

All new trainees to the RNZN will be familiarised, and qualified in the operation of small arms. JOCT are instructed on weapons over a week conducted at Tamaki Leadership Centre, where they will learn the ins and outs of the 5.56 IW Steyr assault rifle and the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol. 

A ‘Sea Acquaint’ is conducted onboard one of our RNZN Ships where JOCT are taught about the roles and responsibilities of an ‘Officer of the Day’ and spend time with the different departments onboard a RNZN Ship.

Basic Mariner Training is conducted throughout JOCT to train you in the fundamentals of knot-tying and working of ropes.

Parade training is continued to develop drill and aid discipline.  Parade also helps to develop a sense of individual pride, alertness, precision and a willingness to respond to orders instantly.

Formal physical training is still carried out during this phase but an emphasis is placed on Junior Officers maintaining their own personal fitness with Junior Officers conducting their own physical training at times.

Phase Three and Four – Academic and Leadership Development

The third and fourth phases are focused around academic and leadership development. Trainees are lectured in Defence communication topics such as service writing and oral communications. Lectures are given on maritime doctrine, sea power, international relations and naval history. Officers are expected to have an understanding of wider National and Defence policies, international relations and maritime doctrine.

Being an Officer means you must be a leader.  Leadership training and education takes place throughout the course but is specifically focused during these phases, covering both theoretical and practical leadership training.. A number of assessments are made on trainees with feedback provided. The assessments are scenario driven and provide you with the opportunity to display your combined skills.

The final leadership assessment is undertaken at the Tamaki Leadership Centre. This assessment is the final stepping stone that Junior Officers will need to take to pass JOCT. Trainees will be required to take charge of challenging situations and develop solutions to complicated scenarios. Trainee performance during this exercise is assessed both in respect of their participation as the leader and as a team member.


The Junior Officer Common Training Course is concluded with a formal graduation parade to which your family and/or friends can be invited.  This formal parade allows you the opportunity to show your family and friends how much you have learnt and developed in relatively short period of time.

What happens after Junior Officer Common Training?

On completion of Junior Officer Common training individuals will commence their respective university or branch/specialist training.  Leadership training and education continues throughout an officer’s career and officers will return to the Leadership Development Group to complete further leadership courses. 

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