Getting a taste for the Air Force

 Flight Lieutenant Dion Courtney with Defence Work Experience Program students
The Defence Work Experience Program (DWEP) day at Hobart air port provided a selection of students and young people from across the state of Tasmania a chance to get up close with members of the Roulettes aerobatic team, and engage in activities designed to give them some insights into a possible Defence career. Participants were shown around the cockpit of a Pilatus PC-9A aircraft used by the Roulettes; given time in flight simulation equipment; shown aviation life support equipment, and engaged in activities designed to build team dynamics, self-confidence and leadership attributes.

Wing Commander Ben Cullen, the Commanding Officer of No.29 (City of Hobart) Squadron was pleased his unit could provide support to the day. “It is a great opportunity for young people to gain a taste of what a Defence career has to offer”, he said. “The program contributes to participants in many ways building their confidence and skills and empowering them through meaningful, interactive and informative activities”. The tri service program is a flagship activity for Tasmania and runs over four days. “Number 29 Squadron is supporting the Air Force component of the program”, said Cullen, “and it is not only a great opportunity for young people to sample a possible Defence career it also provides a chance to experience how professional our personnel are. I am proud of how the Squadron has responded to some challenges and contributed to making the day such a success. We are also pleased to have the Roulettes here. Participants have had a rare opportunity to get time with the pilots, not only talking about flying but also the practical aspects and what is involved with the engineering and physics of flight. It is easy to tell from the many happy faces that they have enjoyed the experience”, he said.

Michael Bonnitcha from the Hutchins School was enthusiastic about the opportunities being provided. “I thought that being able to talk to current service men and women gave me a broad understanding of the different roles in the RAAF”, he said. “That one on one experience with the Roulettes and the trainers has opened up my view to life within the RAAF and has given me lots to think about”. Shayla Newall from Reece High in Devonport was also appreciative of the chance to preview a possible Air Force career. “Having an insight into the daily lives of the Air Force crew and being able to openly ask them questions supported my final decision about the Defence force”, she said. “Having an in depth look at the plane and how it functions” was a definite highlight she added as well as “having face to face conversations with the Roulettes”. Michael was also upbeat about the chance to gain personal time with Air Force pilots and view the aircraft up close. “I loved viewing the interior of the PC-9A”, he said. Using the simulation equipment was also a highlight which illustrated how “precise the conditions have to be to fly. It was a fun opportunity and the people were great to talk to and extremely knowledgeable”.

In the last 12 months, more than 2,000 students across Australia had participated in a Defence Work Experience activity. Around forty per cent go on to apply for Defence jobs.

Find out more about Defence Work Experience here: