Jobs You Never Thought Of….
Kelly Lightowler, 26, is a fighter controller in the RAF. She joined after studying geography at Hull University.
"I got to my final year at university and I was looking into the careers available to me. There was nothing on ‘civilian street’ that caught my eye. I am a keen sportswoman and I wanted to travel. Someone suggested to me the Armed Forces, and after some consideration I decided on the RAF. I had had flying lessons previously, but I hadn’t looked into the RAF seriously. I had never been in the air cadets or anything like that.
"As part of my job I am on the training squadron in the bunker. I do my own control of aircraft on a day-to-day basis, where we train for ‘out-of-area-operations’. We also train each day for QRAs – ‘quick reaction alerts’. The second and main part of my job is as an instructor. When people qualify they need to become combat-ready, which means teaching them to cope with more aircraft, QRA missions, and large exercises.
"What I like most about my job is that it’s varied, challenging and it can be exciting. It can be high-pressured, but it keeps you on your toes – there is always lots of adrenalin – so I enjoy coming into the office. Plus the RAF supports all sports. I run football teams at the station and I do a lot of running as well.
"I am not at all concerned about going into war zones. We train everyday here for deployed operations. On a day-to-day basis we never really do our job for real. I am going to Afghanistan in July and I am looking forward to putting my job into practice.
"If you are unsure about a career on civvy street, look into the military. There are so many career options open to you. For me it was a quick process: from starting to look at RAF careers to my first day at Cranwell College was only six months."
The RAF offers university sponsorship for some potential officers. For more information, call 0845 605 5555 or visit raf.mod.uk/careers