Mechanical engineer Xin Cen is realising her dream of helping others through her skills in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). 

She has just graduated from the 17-week RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course at Base Woodbourne in Blenheim. 

Pilot Officer Cen, 22, from Mt Albert, Auckland has a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and said she has always aspired to utilise her skills and ability in engineering to help others.

“After coming across an Air Force advertisement on social media, I soon realised that there would be no better place to realise this dream than the Air Force.”

Growing up in China and arriving in New Zealand when she was eight years old Pilot Officer Cen said her mother had inspired her. 

“In the journey leading up to joining the Air Force and throughout my training, my mother has been my biggest inspiration and role model.

“I was raised by a solo mum who juggled work, study, and parenting, and the amount of commitment and passion she had towards all aspects of her life has inspired me to put my best efforts into everything I do,” Pilot Officer Cen said.

She said that joining the Air Force has not only been a way for her to realise her aspirations for humanitarian engineering, but also to challenge herself – “much as my mum did when she decided to pack her bags and come to a foreign country by herself.”

Pilot Officer Cen said her experiences on course have been both educational and eye-opening.

“Apart from the technical knowledge I have acquired, I have learned leadership skills that could not be found in any other workplace.

“This is what I expected as the military is a unique working environment that requires its personnel to be able to deal with complex and ambiguous situations,” she said. 

She is looking forward to the next steps of her journey,  including the opportunity to apply the lessons she has learnt at Base Woodbourne. 

“I expect the next part of the Air Force journey to be filled with many new experiences in both the technical and interpersonal space.

“I am posting to Maintenance Support Squadron at Base Auckland, which is an exciting opportunity to meet more people, as well as seeing how an engineering officer operates within the Air Force.

“This country was foreign to me when I first arrived 14 years ago, but has now become my home. I am very excited to commit to a career that helps to protect the land and the people that I love.

To learn more about a career in the Air Force visit www.defencecareers.mil.nz(external link).

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