Introducing Katey, an inspiring Royal Air Force Aircraft Technician Mechanical who started as an apprentice and now conducts training across multiple levels of the RAF, having a positive impact across the Force.
What did Katey do before joining the RAF?
Before joining the RAF Katey was in college and had aspirations of becoming a lawyer. However, as her college course progressed, she began to re-consider and started to think she was better suited elsewhere.
‘College just wasn't for me. I am not a classroom person. I'm more of a hands-on person.’
At 16 Katey was at a crossroads, she didn’t enjoy college but wanted to make her parents proud.
Throughout her early college days, a year prior to joining the RAF, Katey was seeing her brother relish the success he was having as an RAF Regiment gunner, and she thought to herself ‘I want some of that’.
‘I saw what he was going through. So, I decided to go down that route instead of going through college.’
How did Katey choose her role?
Once Katey had made the decision to join the RAF, her next challenge was to determine which RAF role she was best suited to. The RAF were there to support Katey throughout her application process and were on hand to aid her decisions wherever they could. The RAF played an integral role in helping Katey find the role she now currently thrives and succeeds in.
‘They sent me all the links for engineering. I looked into it, and I thought ‘that sounds incredible’’.
What is the training like in the RAF?
Katey started her RAF career with basic training before she undertook Aircraft Technician (Mechanical) training at RAF Cosford. During her technical training Katey was enrolled on an apprenticeship and gained civilian recognised qualifications. However, she hasn’t always been an expert and expressed that the RAF were there to fully support her throughout her training.
‘I'd never touched a tool in my life before I joined up, they supported me through all of the training’.
Katey describes her RAF training experiences as ‘long days’ and ‘pushing you to your limits’ but she stresses that no one signing up should be afraid of the training. In fact, the most challenging aspect during her basic training was getting used to prioritisation.
‘For me, because I joined up at 17, the most challenging thing during basic training was prioritising tasks. It's going to sound really silly but that was quite a steep learning curve for me, prioritising tasks to make your life easier’.
As a seventeen-year-old in the RAF, Katey was learning new life skills alongside learning how to become a successful RAF Engineer. During training, Katey highlighted the sense of family and comradery amongst the RAF.
‘It's like a proper family unit. We used to do study groups because we were all living on one corridor. We used to go into the common room and do quizzes, we’d basically do our homework together.’
Furthermore, Katey also complimented the support she has received from the RAF throughout her career. She mentions a particularly tough time in her life after the passing of her Grandad and the incredible support the RAF provided throughout.
‘My grandad passed away whilst I was training at Cosford, and they were incredible with me. Absolutely incredible.’.
What is Katey doing now?
Katey has now been in the RAF for 13 years and she cherishes all the experiences, memories, and skills she has learnt throughout her career. Currently, she is providing vital training and teaching experienced RAF Engineers how to employ their skills on the Eurofighter Typhoon.
‘At the minute, I’m providing a course for all engineers that will be working on the Eurofighter Typhoon. We do a range of classroom and hands on teaching. I love teaching. I love standing up in front of the class.’.
Is there the opportunity to travel with the RAF?
As well as teaching, Katey has had the chance to travel the world with the RAF. Norway, Cyprus, and the Falkland Islands are just a few of the interesting and exciting places that Katey has had the chance to visit.
‘I loved every second of it. That is what I joined up to do.’
The RAF has given Katey the chance to pursue her interest in sports, she has travelled with her RAF netball team and skiing team to compete.
Finally, Katey’s advice to anyone considering an apprenticeship is ‘Do it 100%. I wouldn't have got the qualifications that I've got if I hadn't had joined the RAF, I wouldn't have had any of the life experiences if I hadn't joined up.’.
Find out more about Engineering roles in the RAF here.