Suzie Clarke - Supplier - Royal Air Force

My role‘I work in Tech Stores at RAF Odiham in Hampshire. We’re a ‘demand cell’ which means we take orders on a daily basis depending on what’s needed by the Squadrons on base. We deal with a variety of equipment, from medical supplies to engine parts; it’s a very wide ranging job.‘Once we’ve tracked down and received the part it’s our job to make sure it gets where it needs to be, so driving forms a large part of our role. I couldn’t drive when I joined so the RAF paid for me to learn and take my test. Since then they’ve also paid for me to gain four different forklift licences too, they’re really supportive when it comes to training.’My day‘Processing orders for the entire base means that work can get quite busy! We could be dealing with up to 100 orders everyday so it’s a lot of responsibility. The up-side is that we normally work 8am to 5pm – unless we’re on operational deployment.‘The gym here runs regular fitness classes at lunchtime, which are free. I usually try to fit in a spinning class or do some circuits. I’m also part of the running club and manage to get away twice a week for a lunchtime run.’My experiences‘Before coming here I worked on the Mobility Supply Flight. We have an operational Chinook Squadron here and it was our job to support them, wherever they went. I got to travel all the time, which was very exciting.‘I had to make sure the crew and engineers had everything they needed, which could be challenging if a spare part was in the UK and we were overseas. I often had to work alone and if the team were busy I could be on shift for up to 24 hours.‘In one year I spent two months in Afghanistan, one week in Cyprus and three weeks in Oman. Often I had to travel at very short notice, in fact during my time on the flight I was always on three days notice so I could quite literally get my orders and go.’My life‘My husband is also in the RAF and we have a 10 month old son. Juggling our work commitments with childcare can be challenging especially as he is away quite a lot.‘The RAF has been really supportive. We have a crèche on base and my Commanding Officer has been very flexible in giving me time off if my son is ill. The rest of the team has also been really supportive; they’re like my extended family.’

Engineering
Management
Mechanic

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