Local Schoolgirls Attend RNAS Culdrose

Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose opened its hangar doors to 50 girls from Mullion and Helston schools so they could meet inspirational women working in the Royal Navy.

The event took place in the hangar of 814 Naval Air Squadron on Friday, March 6, to coincide as closely as possible with International Women’s Day on the Sunday, March 8.

They met women from across the air station, including a fast jet pilot, helicopter pilots and observers, aircraft engineers, a survival equipment specialist, medics, firefighter and aircraft handler, physical trainer, writers and a weather forecaster.

The pupils were engaged, talkative and had plenty of time to chat to the women about a career in science and the military.

Helston pupil Katie Collins, 13, said: “It’s been really interesting. I didn’t know there were lots of jobs you could do.”

While Grace Hirst, also 13, said: “I didn’t know there were that many women who worked here,” and Zara Taylor, 14, added: “Yes, you only think about pilots and engineers.”

Also joining the groups was two girls who were keen to hear more about possible jobs in the navy. Kim Hennessy, 16, from Falmouth School, said: “I wasn’t too sure what to expect before I came here and looked around the stalls. I found the survival technicians really interesting. I had an idea of coming into the navy but I want to go to college first. It’s been good to come here and get more information.”

Meanwhile, Maddie Stanfield, 15 and from Penryn College, added: “This all just confirms what I want to do in the navy – which is be a physical trainer. I’ve been able to see something from all the navy branches here today.”

Lieutenant Tori Rose, who led the event, said: “We are trying to encourage young women to consider a career in the Royal Navy. At the end of the day, we’ve got more than 100 roles so I’d like to think there’s something out there for everyone to consider.

“I think people sometimes perceive barrier to joining the armed forces, be that educational, family reasons or the fact that it is a male dominated environment – but I would say from my experience that the navy has come a long way. I’ve been in the navy for 15 years now and they’ve introduced the Naval Service Women’s Network in 2012. The purpose of that group is to improve the lived-experience of naval service women.”

She thanked the schools for taking the time to help organise the trips and for enthusiasm and exemplary behaviour of the pupils.