Nosheen Chaudry, 27, is an officer commanding armament engineering flight for the RAF. She completed a mechanical and materials engineering degree at Birmingham University in 2002.
What do you do in your job?
I am in charge of 140 engineers who work on all the explosives and weaponry on the Chinook aircraft. My role is basically to be a man manager, co-ordinating the team and making sure all of the tasks are completed to deadline. I am also an armaments specialist so I am in charge of the safety of ranges and explosives as well.
What do you like about your job?
I like the high level of responsibility that you get early on in the armed forces. Compared to my civilian counterparts, I have 10 times more responsibility manpower wise than they do – they wouldn’t even consider having 140 people working for them at this stage in their career. I like having lots of people to look after and thrive on being accountable for such a large group.
What do you dislike about your job?
The moving around sometimes gets you down, as we change posts every 18 months. However this can sometimes work in your favour because if you get posted to a job you don’t really like you know it is only for 18 months and then you will be moving on again. I suppose it is swings and roundabouts and you get that in any job.
What are the biggest challenges?
Because you are moving around so much, you are constantly having to learn everything very quickly. When you think you have just got up to speed with everything in that role, you get posted to another position and have to start all over again. It is quite challenging to be in a completely different environment and have to learn everything from scratch. It is something I don’t think will really settle down, as you are constantly moving throughout your career in the RAF. There are options to stay in the same area location-wise, so once you have a family you can ask for postings in the same area, but you will still have to move from post to post within that area.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field:
Joining the RAF is a big commitment to make because you are signing up for a long time. The options for service are six years or 16 years, so I would make sure you have investigated it fully before going for it. There is lots of help from the recruiting teams here and the opportunity to come on visits and investigate the working and living environment. Once you have done that and asked lots of questions you will have built up quite a good knowledge base. It is then fairly easy to be accepted into the forces because you know what you are talking about at interview. If you haven’t got the commitment and you don’t know what you are getting yourself into you won’t be selected. At interview they will ask you what you expect of the job and if you don’t know, you won’t get it – they want to make sure they choose the right people.