The Vanuatu Police Force's (VPF) next generation of fitness leaders are ready to empower their colleagues to become stronger, fitter and faster, thanks to training delivered by the Australian Army. 

Supported by the Vanuatu-Australia Defence Cooperation Program, an Australian Army Mobile Training Team delivered a three-week specialist training program to the VPF at Cook Barracks, Port Vila, in November, with the Fitness Leaders’ Course a key component of the overall engagement. 

A small number of enthusiastic and fitness-driven VPF members received training to become fitness leaders within their individual areas of expertise. 

Combat fitness leader Gunner Wouter Gronum, of the 1st Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, was the lead instructor for the course.

“The trainees have demonstrated some good warm-ups and cool-downs, and during the last week of their assessments, they’ve run some great sessions, especially battle physical training sessions and bodyweight circuits,” Gunner Gronum said. 

“We looked at how to structure a physical training session, what equipment needs to be prepared, and what exercises will be conducted throughout.

“We also focused on instructor qualities and how to conduct physical training well.

“Anyone can lead a physical training session, but there’s a definite art to it.”

Gunner Gronum highlighted why the Fitness Leaders’ Course was important to VPF personnel, who respond to a myriad of tasks from policing, search and rescue, to natural disaster relief operations. 

“Physicality is important because of the nature of their role, they have to be able to subdue people when required, and be able to protect, so physicality is a big part of their training,” he said. 

“It’s important to keep the VPF fit and healthy so they can execute their duties to the best of their ability.”

Vanuatu Mobile Force member and Fitness Leaders’ Course participant Private Brian Savi said he was looking forward to running physical training sessions with his infantry unit, and outlined how the course had helped him personally. 

“I’m a shy guy – I don’t speak a lot – but since the course, I’ve been able to speak up and help people with their training sessions,” Private Savi said.

“I’ve learned to use a loud voice and encourage participants to carry out their exercises.

“Being fit and strong is important for a VPF officer so we can carry out our duties.

“Now it’s my job to help others with that.”

Gunner Gronum said he was grateful for his experience training with the Vanuatu Mobile Force – one of the three wings of the VPF – and wider force, and said he had learned just as much as his trainees. 

“I’ve learned a lot from my students, particularly how to be a better physical training instructor myself,” he said.

“I’ve been able to look at what instructor qualities I can improve on to ensure they get the best training possible.”

More photos can be viewed on the Defence image gallery.