Wednesday 23rd June 2021
Engineers in Support Force Headquarters at RAF Wittering are proud to support International Women in Engineering Day and are calling for more women to join up.
International Women in Engineering Day is now in its eighth year, it is an international awareness campaign which raises the profile of women in engineering and focuses attention on the amazing career opportunities available to women in this exciting industry.
Squadron Leader Emma Lacey is a Communications Engineer. Originally inspired by her grandfather to join up, Emma joined the RAF in 2009 after completing a master’s degree in systems engineering at Loughborough University.
“I loved maths and I loved physics, which is why I chose engineering. A systems engineer brings all the different strands of a programme or project together; the systems, the human factors and programme management. That course taught me a range of specialisms, which have hugely benefited my RAF career as an engineer.”
Communications Engineers work across the RAF. They are responsible for leading the engineering activity that supports the RAF’s array of information technology, strategic communications services, satellite communications, air defence radars and the latest generation aircraft engineering and mission support systems. Perhaps the best-known Communications Engineers in the RAF are 90 Signals Unit which are also a part of the Support Force.
The RAF Support Force brings together most of the capabilities and skills needed to sustain modern air operations and exercises; specialist engineering and logistics, advanced military communications, tactical medical services, mountain rescue and music services.
As part of the Support Force HQ, Squadron Leader Lacey is the subject matter expert for communications, working with the engineering and logistics squadrons to make sure they remain fully digitally enabled with access to secure communications and information systems.
When told of an upcoming operation or exercise, Danielle and her team calculate exactly what the Support Force needs to provide in order to empower that activity and turn the requirement into a functioning reality. It is a complex and demanding role which requires a detailed knowledge of both engineering and logistics.
“My job is to look at the operation or exercise and work out what engineering and logistics aspects, like people, skills and equipment, are needed. I also advise on any engineering issues that come up. It’s a different way of working as an engineer because you are always thinking about what’s needed on the ground to keep the aircraft in the air but it’s a brilliant job.”
Squadron Leader Lacey concluded:
“Being a woman engineering officer in the RAF is all about being an engineering officer and not about being a woman. My advice to women thinking about becoming an RAF Engineer? Do it! It’s an exciting career path to choose and comes with amazing experiences, so join up and make it happen.”
Top image from left to right: Sqn Ldr Lacey and Flt Lt Rowe.