• Air Force Aviation Camp for Women participants have a close look at a No. 6 Squadron EA-18G Growler.
    Air Force Aviation Camp for Women participants have a close look at a No. 6 Squadron EA-18G Growler. Defence

Five Brisbane-based women were among 17 women who recently attended the inauguralAir Force Aviation Camp for Women at RAAF Base Amberley.

Bethany Irvine, 18, Karen Hau, 21, Kristiane Grafton, 22, Natasha Barclay, 28, and Cassandra Newnham, 30, experienced military aviation, including aircrew, engineering and technical roles first hand, and the day-to-day routine of an Air Force base. Participants also met with Air Force members and Defence Force Recruiting specialists to discuss career opportunities.

The group signed up for the camp to learn more about aviation roles in the Air Force.

Irvine said the flight in the C-17 Globemaster was the highlight of the camp. Hau and Barclay agreed.

“It was an incredible opportunity to get to fly over Brisbane and experience how manoeuvrable the aircraft is, especially during tactical flying operations,” Hau said.

“When they opened the rear loading door it was perhaps a once in a lifetime experience,” Barclay said.

For Newnham, the activity that stood out the most was the opportunity to try the Super Hornet simulator.

Newnham said if she were to join the Air Force, she would work to continually progress personally and professionally.

“I would prefer to enter via the Officer Entry pathway with the intention of learning as much as possible to continue upwards through the ranks. I would also like to assist other women to have the confidence to join and enjoy the benefits that come with it.”

Aviation Camp Officer in Charge, Squadron Leader Elise Stade, said Air Force is strongly committed to enhancing a more diverse and inclusive work environment, and recognises that diversity is key to capability – a point brought up by numerous speakers at the recent Women in Defence Awards.

“To be the strongest possible organisation, Air Force needs to be able to recruit from the entire talent pool in the Australian community, both women and men,” SQNLDR Stade said.

“Flight and Technical camps for young women have been running since 2013 and have produced positive results with 80 per cent of participants actively pursuing ADF careers through Defence Force Recruiting. Due to the success of the camps, Air Force was pleased to deliver the inaugural Aviation Camp for Women.”

SQNLDR Stade said it was rewarding to share her insights and technical expertise with participants at the camp.

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