The Air Force’s family-friendly policies were what attracted Corporal Jade Forman to join the service and they are a big part of why she wants to stay.

The Logistics Specialist works at Base Ohakea as the repair manager for NH90 helicopters after moving from Base Auckland.

“I recently moved from Auckland and I was on my own with my daughter and the amount of people who came around and helped me move and clean my house – I didn’t ask anyone, they were just there.

“I don’t think you would get that anywhere else, it’s like a family. So that and the balance with mum life is what keeps me here, makes me love it and makes me want to encourage other females to join.”

Corporal (CPL) Forman joined in 2015 when she was 23 when she realised she wasn’t pushing herself to her full potential and wanted a career rather than a job.

“I heard about the good work/life balance in the Air Force, so I looked into it and joined up. I knew very little about it – I’m not from a military family or anything like that.

“It’s not really so much what made me join up, but what’s made me stay in the Air Force that is more important to me.”

“When I got pregnant with my daughter I wondered if that meant an end to my career. I was about five months into maternity leave and work approached me to see if I wanted to work from home a couple of days a week. I was shocked, because I didn’t know that could be an option, but they set me up and trained me on the equipment.”

Since then, CPL Forman has seen other women taking on that same option and she believes the flexible working arrangements is one of the best things the NZDF offers to its personnel. As well as working full time, CPL Forman is also able to fit in time to study, “you can still do it all in the Air Force”.

“I was never disadvantaged after having a child. I am able to be a career woman, chase goals and be a mum.

“My proudest achievement in life is being a mum to my two-year-old daughter Scarlett and every day that I put my uniform on she knows I am going to work. I think as women in this uniform, we are very strong role models for our daughters and we should be really proud and passionate about that.”

Working as a repair manager at No. 3 Squadron is also a rewarding role and CPL Forman said she sees how her work directly impacts on the fleet.

“When a helicopter part breaks and comes off the frame, that’s when my job kicks in. I liaise with the vendors and finance and sign off the amount we want it repaired for. It then gets sent out to vendors where it becomes serviceable and able to go back onto the aircraft.”

Last year, while working the propulsion team, CPL Forman was part of the team fixing a major problem with one of the Boeing aircraft.  

“It was really cool, we stood there and watched the Boeing take off and you knew you’d played a part in making that happen.”

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