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Working at LOOK, Zoe Gomez knows quite a bit about hard work and multi-tasking – a different day every day? Check. Last-minute changes? Check.
However, a day with the British Army would be very different. Luckily, Zoe loves a challenge.
‘I love pushing myself to the limit,’ she says. ‘When I found out I was spending the day with the Army Air Corps I was so excited – but I didn’t realise how much I would learn in just eight hours.’
Zoe spent the day with female soldiers, who explained that recruits require many transferable talents. There are over 220 roles grouped into categories, including engineering, combat, medical, intelligence, IT, HR and music – it’s a long list and soldiers can expect to transfer through several departments, if they wish, learning a multitude of skills along the way.
‘It’s true,’ says Warrant Officer Louise Davis Smith. ‘I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up at 19.’
Zoe’s first task was to get to grips with the flight simulator. ‘We took it in turns to learn to fly or be in the control centre where I could choose the conditions of flight,including geography, terrain and weather. It’s physical, but also mental, training that really stretched me, even in just one day.’
That’s not all – the Corps soldiers are also trained to load missiles, ‘It felt like I’d learned how to do 10 different things in just two hours, and most of all it was fun.’
Zoe was then able to take part in a helicopter flight, which was ‘incredible’. But becoming a pilot requires working your way up through the ranks by utilising the many opportunities available at the Army – this ensures that you’ll be promoted and therefore command more respect, as well as a guaranteed pay rise.
‘I could be a ground crewman or a mechanic,’ Louise says. ‘I’ve transferred ammunition and I can fly helicopters.’ If you’re wondering how on earth Louise managed to fit all this in, she took advantage of the on-the-job training provided.
The Army takes care of everything. In fact, you can study over 40 subjects and there are over 500 educational qualifications candidates can earn. That’s not to mention the 75% of new soldiers who take part in an apprenticeship, which benefits them not just as soldiers but also during the rest of their working life as they move on to jobs in the ‘civvy’ world.
‘I also did the Skills At Arms course,’ says Louise, ‘which is great as I learned the ins and outs of small weaponry. But then I decided I still wanted to train soldiers. My boss supported my decision and now I teach phase one recruits. It’s the best posting I’ve ever had.’
What really struck Zoe was the enthusiasm and energy these women expressed while talking about their jobs: ‘My friends tell me about day-to-day problems with their jobs and complain about their bosses, but these women love it and go to work every day excited and ready for a challenge.’
‘I just love what I do,’ says Louise. ‘I am really proud of what I’ve done.’
Find out more about life in the Army at look.co.uk/army