Comet Bay College student Calvin Havili enjoyed an "opportunity of a lifetime" recently when he was invited to take part in the Naval Shipbuilding College's STEMulation Trail in Sydney.
Calvin, 17, was the only student in Western Australia to be accepted into the program, which gave secondary and tertiary students an insight into the technology and careers available within the naval shipbuilding industry.
The STEMulation Trail was run in conjunction with Pacific 2019 International Marine Exposition, the biggest maritime exhibition in the southern hemisphere.
Calvin rubbed shoulders with politicians and industry heavyweights, including Federal Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price and Civmec project manager Mark Clary.
He said he came home with a clearer vision of his dream career.
"I learnt about the types of technology we are about to advance into, and where the best career pathways may be - and that's probably going to be behind the computers and designing things, thinking of ideas to improve the technology that we use in the naval shipbuilding industry," Calvin said.
"I also learnt about how safe we are in Australia - the complexity of the ships we have in Australia is amazing and we should all feel safe.
"The highlight of the trip was definitely looking at all of the technology in our Defence systems, and that was mind blowing! They are using laser detection technology - real science fiction stuff - and I never thought we had technology like that here in Australia."
Comet Bay College associate principal Phil Casas said Calvin had played a big part in the school's STEM program and was very active within the design and technology learning area.
"This opportunity came about from our work with The Naval Shipbuilding College and our focus on real and relevant career pathways for our students," he said.
"We have fantastic support from the NSC, Defence West and Civmec, and we continue to explore the knowledge, skills and experience required for today's industries."
Calvin's inclusion in the STEMulation Trail was largely thanks to Civmec, who paid for his airfares. He has since been offered work experience at the Henderson-based company, which he will complete during the summer holidays, working alongside Comet Bay College alumni Owen Hall, who is a fabrication apprentice.
"Thank you to Mr Casas who has been my supporter since year 10 and Ms Thain, who helped get the ball rolling," Calvin said.
"It's definitely given me direction. I want to go towards naval ship building, but I don't know which job I really want to pursue yet. I've got to take this work experience opportunity I have been given at Civmec and see where it takes me.
"Now I actually have an idea of where I want to go, and the possible future that I want to pursue."