"I’m 21 and only just settled in my career path, and even at my age you still don’t have to know!"

Name: Laura Bailey

Studied at CHS: 2010 - 2017

Current Role: AC (Aircraftwoman), RAF

What are your memories of CHS?

I was a student at CHS from 2010 to 2017, and after my GCSEs I stayed on at CHS for Sixth Form and chose Biology, English Literature and History for A Level.

I absolutely loved my time at CHS, the teachers were always so supportive, I had a fab group of friends and I loved all my subjects, both in GCSEs and A Levels. I always loved being part of sports clubs such as rounders, netball and trampolining. I also helped tutor younger years in Maths and English whilst in Sixth Form.

During school I was never sure what I wanted to do, that’s why my subjects differed so much, so I could keep my options open and why I got involved with other extra-curricular activities. It wasn’t till my second A Level year till I started applying for apprenticeships. I achieved the A Levels to be able to apply to university, but because I wasn’t set on a career path, I chose a paralegal apprenticeship at DWF LLP. The one thing I was certain on was that I wanted a career that would help people, and by being a lawyer I could achieve this.

Route after CHS

I did one year of my paralegal apprenticeship, but it wasn’t as fulfilling as I thought, an office job in the middle of Manchester just wasn’t for me. So, me, mum and dad decided to think of something else. I never really knew anything about the RAF in school and a family friend suggested it as a possible career path.

Whilst working at DWF LLP I started my application to the RAF and during the process decided to resign. During the application process I worked at my family friend’s occupational health company in Congleton and a shop in Affinity Staffordshire outlet mall. It doesn’t sound that glamorous after working in a law firm, but I had a goal and I was happy. I worked at the occupational health company for about nine months until I started my basic training at RAF Halton.

Life in the RAF

So far the RAF has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, the ten weeks basic training involves things that you wouldn’t get in any other job and you make so many friends that you get so close to incredibly quickly. In basic training you do first aid training, a week of adventure training and an introduction to military life.

I’m now waiting for my phase two training to begin where I will learn to speak Russian so I can start work as an Intelligence Analyst Linguist. I’m extremely excited as my job will involve knowing so much interesting information and I’m being paid to learn a language, which I previously had no knowledge of! I get to take time out of my day for fitness, I have opportunities to go on adventure training and meet so many new people! I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and carrying on my career in the RAF.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

My advice would be not to stress! At sixteen I felt a lot of pressure to have my life sorted, which is extremely difficult when you don’t know what you want to do. I’m 21 now and only just settled in my career path, and even at my age you still don’t have to know!

I would also advise myself to explore more options, I never knew anything about the Armed Forces and the amount of job roles there was. The RAF alone has about sixty different job roles including apprenticeship schemes and even funding for some university courses.

I now have a clear path of what I want and where I want to be. My future involves me completing my training, completing my first posting, getting involved in sports teams, learning and getting promoted. I’m extremely excited for the future and what possibilities it holds.

The Learning Alliance