The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) School to Skies programme was the clincher for Levin’s Jaymie Evans-Walsh in deciding on a career in the force.

She has just graduated the 14-week recruit training at RNZAF Base Woodbourne and will soon start training as an Air Warfare Specialist. 

Aircraftman Evans-Walsh, 19, was selected to take part in the 2019 School to Skies programme - a hands-on programme for Year 13 females who have an interest in maths and science.

Participants experience opportunities during a six-day camp which gives them a taste of what a career in a technical or aviation field in the RNZAF could be like.

“Without Schools to Skies I don’t think I would have learnt of the amazing opportunities that the Air Force offers,” she said.

“After I went to School to Skies there was no question of whether I was going to join the Air Force. I was 100 percent sure about joining, so applied a few weeks after getting home.”

Aircraftman Evans-Walsh said she wanted an exciting career that was both varied and adventurous.

“I also really wanted to travel, which is why I was drawn to an aircrew role. I love New Zealand and its people so being able to serve my country is a massive honour.”

Aircraftman Evans-Walsh said her experiences on the recruit course had been enjoyable.

“I’ve never handled weapons before so that was a challenge, but the instructors were amazing and we all qualified.

“Going to Tūrangawaewae, the Air Force marae at Ohakea, was also a highlight. Going there really made me feel like I was at home and surrounded by family,” she said.

A challenge but also another highlight was the time spent on Exercise Wero at Dip Flat, near Nelson Lakes National Park.

 “Putting all the practical skills that we learnt over the past 14 weeks into an exercise like that really makes you realise how much you’ve learnt and makes you feel more confident in being able to work under pressure in an operational environment.” 

Aircraftman Evans-Walsh said anyone looking to join should “keep fit, learn as much about the Air Force as you can, and stay on top of things”.

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

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