Senior Aircraftswoman Chelsea Wong is a logistics air ground steward in the Royal Air Force. Here she discusses her role and what an RAF apprenticeship has done for her
I was born in Fiji and migrated overseas at a very young age. I have spent much of my childhood moving around the world and travelling due to the nature of my father’s career. For me, this also meant having to change schools often and learning to adapt and settle into a new environment and so I feel this has been something that’s enabled me to seamlessly settle into working within a military establishment.
I graduated from high school in 2016 with a Canadian high school diploma and upon moving back to the UK applied to join the RAF. My role as an air and ground steward covers a vast array of responsibilities, from working within a military mess environment in order to help support unit food services, to providing field catering on operations/exercises as well as working as cabin crew on a flying squadron.
I began my apprenticeship with the RAF in 2018. The whole concept of learning on the job and getting paid to learn really appealed to me and I was confident I would have a stable and successful career within the RAF upon completion of my apprenticeship. The apprenticeship consisted of various components such as being tasked to deliver a wide range of mess functions and formal events (both routine and VIP) for more than 300 guests, to running a bar independently and confidently.
During this time, I learnt the importance of being efficient and organised as well as how to perform well when working under pressure. I successfully completed my level 2 NVQ in food and beverage service in 2019, and having been trained to incredibly high standards, this essentially meant that I was qualified to work in any catering establishment or sector of hospitality
In 2020, I was nominated and selected as the Air & Ground Steward Apprentice of the Year 2020. The criteria required for this award encompassed multiple elements, such as professionalism, personal development, teamwork and dedication, to name a few. This achievement has been nothing short of incredible and I am very proud to have achieved such an honourable milestone this early on in my career.
I would highly encourage anyone who is considering an apprenticeship within the RAF to grasp this amazing opportunity and run with it. The training received is exceptional and the benefits and rewards open up a whole new world of opportunities beyond your apprenticeship.
The RAF has 23 apprenticeships available. To find yours, search ‘RAF Apprenticeships’