Through a Facebook post by the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, Cadet Joan Fowodu applied to attend a 4-day work experience programme with the Royal Air Force (RAF). This experience involved girls from across the country being invited to gain experience in STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics) subjects within the RAF.
On the 10th of April, Joan joined 40 other girls from across the country, many not being fellow Air Cadets, at RAF Cranwell to earn an Industrial Cadet Award and Crest Award; both awards are achieved at silver level through STEM and engineering.
Upon arrival, the girls were briefed on what the course was, what they would be doing over the period of 4 days and what opportunities would come from getting these qualifications on their CV’s. The main task of the week to gain the awards was to make a powered glider. To get inspiration for their ideas, the girls took a trip to RAF Coningsby, where they were given more of an insight into what engineering in the RAF had to offer and also looked around the base.
They had the opportunity to speak to the chief of the engineers in the RAF, Air Vice Marshall Sue Gray CB, OBE, Officer Commanding 38 group; they also spoke to the station commander of RAF Coningsby Group Captain Mike Baulkwill. Also, the girls had the opportunity to have lunch in the officer’s mess, to give them the experience of what life would be like if they applied to the RAF as Engineering Officers. In the afternoon, the girls got to be up and close with a live Typhoon jet and even got to sit inside the cockpit. They were also shown the little bits and pieces of the jet and how they were made.
The day of the glider build came and the girls were spilt down into teams, where Fowodu was appointed team leader, and had only an hour and a half to make their models. They then had to pitch their glider ideas in a Dragon’s Den style on why their glider should be built. On top of all this the girls had to get ready for a showcase to present all the work to RAF Honourees and to parents and staff on Thursday.
Finally, the day of the showcase came where the girls got to show off everything they had worked on throughout the week in the presence of very high ranking RAF officers. At the end of the showcase the girls were awarded their qualifications by an RAF Group Captain, which they were all very proud to achieve.
Cadet Fowodu, who thoroughly enjoyed her week at RAF Cranwell, said ” It was such an amazing experience and I now have 2 great qualifications to put on my CV. I also know enough about engineering to consider it as a career choice. I highly recommend taking this opportunity to anyone who is given it.”