Being a Female in the RAF
What's it like being a Founder?
Katie is a Corporal Flight Operations Assistant employed by the RAF. Katie is a full-time working single mum who has served for over 12 years. Katie will be going away for 4 months to do her job in the Falklands mid 2019. Sheloves her job and has enjoyed coming back to a full-time career after being a stay at home mum for a few years. Katie is an active Female Ambassador and enjoys the variety of being a Flight Ops Assistant.
Job title: Corporal Flight Operations Assistant
Current employer: Royal Air Force
Hours: 50-60 hours/week
How long have you been practising in this field? 12 years.
What’s your job title and location?
I'm a Corporal Flight Operations Assistant Royal Air Force based in Waddington Lincolnshire, UK.
What's it like working in your role? What does a typical day look like?
I start my day by looking getting up my 2 children who are 7 & 6 years as a single mum. I work daily Mon-Fri 8am until 5:30 pm. I then come home, cook dinner for my kids, help them with their homework, iron my uniform and organising things at home before going to bed.
During work I split my role into 4 primary jobs, working in the Visual Control Room, the Approach Control Room, Flight Ops Manager when the Sergeant isn’t in, I cover as the IC of a shift of minimum 7 personnel daily.
No day at work is ever the same! I then have a number of duties to complete which are not my primary role but sometimes I’ll need to look at documentation, work on computers and update our training procedures for new hires.
In your current role, what do you spend your time doing?
I assist Air Traffic Controllers on a daily basis. My role as a Corporal is also to ensure that my juniors are completing their jobs to a high level to support Flight Safety.
Has anyone ever been surprised when you told them that you were in this role?
Yes, as most people tend to think that only pilots fly in the RAF and are confused that I must be in the Army.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
Are there any specific qualifications you are required to have in your field?
Minimum is GCSE's in English & Maths (C-level) however you must pass an aptitude test when applying.
Tell us more about your career journey - how did you get to where you are today?
I joined the RAF at 17 years straight from college. I spent 7 weeks at RAF Halton, 9 weeks at RAF Shawbury and the rest is history as they say!
Was there anything you liked doing at school that helped you get to this career?
English, Communications and IT.
What were your favourite subjects at school?
English & History.
What did you want to be as a child when you 'grew up'?
Can you remember what your parents reactions were to that aspiration?
They were always accepting of my career choices.
Can you remember your parents or teachers wanting or encouraging you to go into a specific career? And was this linked to your gender?
My teachers and even now I work in a role where I can teach when I instruct new assistants into my place of work.
What do you think are attitudes towards and expectations of women in your sector?
I don’t think enough people understand or have heard of my job role.
Are there any challenges to working in your field?
Challenges are definitely going away for a prolonged period leaving by children.
What are 3 things you have to like to do your job?
Instructing & Training and working as a VCR assistant alongside Controllers
What advice would you give to young girls who are aspiring to be in your role, or who maybe haven't even considered it as a career?
Speak to those of us who are in the RAF, employed in Flight Ops jobs as every job aspect is different in each unit.
Hours: 40 hours/week
Starting salary: £19,000/year
Qualifications required: There are various age, nationality & residency, health & fitness and educational requirements to join the RAF.
As of 2017, there were 4,670 women employed in the RAF. This equates to 14% of the total 33,260 strong work force.
The head of recruiting at the RAF said "women will make RAF fighting units stronger because of their emotional intelligence. Women can now apply to join the RAF's ground-fighting force, which is deployed to protect bases and airfields across the world.