Our Year 13 students had brief presentations from members of the Armed Forces who outlined the benefits of a military career. Recruiting officers from the RAF and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines visited to deliver talks about the opportunities available to students, both immediately after Sixth Form and after degree level.
Cpl Louise Fenton from RAF Careers said: ‘We are here to open the students’ eyes about the military and let them know what sort of career you can get into. Depending on their trade people can start in the Royal Air Force aged 16 or 17. There are also opportunities to have a bursary through university with the expectation that you join up afterwards.
'Everybody has a part to play. Teamwork is a massive thing that is really encouraged and we do a lot of courses around team building. I have been in the Royal Air Force for 12 years. I joined as a logistics driver so I got all my licences from car and coach up to HGV. I could be driving someone to an airport if they are going overseas, taking equipment or personnel down to another station in an artic or coach or fuelling jets before take off.
'In my job I have a lot of transferable skills but the best thing for me is the travel because you go to places that you wouldn’t normally see as a tourist. I have been to the Falkland Islands twice, Qatar, Cyprus, America and Canada. Also you can sit further qualifications from GCSEs through to degree level as well as take part in just about any sport that you can think of. The benefits, including pay and conditions, are quite good.’
Dex Snaith told students about careers in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. He said: ‘There are over 50 jobs available and the beauty is that with all three services there are opportunities. You can start from scratch and still have the opportunity to go right to the top and there are no barriers in the way.
'Being in the Navy is all about being at sea so it does take a specific type of person to be away for a length of time. The biggest difference between the Navy and other services is that they tend to be orientated around the whole unit staying together whereas in the Navy you are very much an individual and we will move around ships and around jobs within the organisation. Part of that is being away at sea and an average separation at the moment is about 12 months. There is a lot more travelling and a lot more jobs. We have got things like chefs, stewards, engineers, doctors, dentists and pilots.
'Many people don’t realise that we have our own air force doing things like search and rescue so we have got all of that support for the helicopters and jets. There is no minimum qualification to join but recruits have to pass an academic test on literacy and numeracy and they can build on qualifications from there, including degrees. For me the best part of joining up was having the job variety. I joined with one CSE qualification and have now got an engineering management degree and promotion so you have opportunities in the services.’