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Forging a future .. Oamaru's Jena Scott, a pilot officer with the Royal New Zealand Air Force, recently completed its initial officer training course. PHOTO: NEW ZEALAND DEFENCE FORCE

Former Oamaru woman Jena Scott’s career is set to soar after she recently completed the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s latest officer course.

Pilot Officer Scott was among the RNZAF officers who marched out at Base Woodbourne, west of Blenheim, a fortnight ago after finishing the initial officer training course.

During the course, cadets learn everything a junior officer needs to know before entering the RNZAF workforce.

That includes leadership, communication, defence and strategic studies, drills, field skills, weapons handling and other aspects.

P Offr Scott, who had earlier completed the joint officer induction course, said joining the RNZAF was a goal she set herself years ago, as a member of the 26 Squadron Air Training Corps in Oamaru.

“I remember a group of cadets and officers coming to speak to us at schools when I was at Oamaru Intermediate School and watching a video of what they do, thinking it looked like heaps of fun.

“I really enjoyed cadets, particularly the camps and flying experience, and also gained some great training.

“I started considering the RNZAF as a career option while I was at high school, as I learnt more about it through both the Air Training Corps and the New Zealand Defence Force recruiters. I decided to study engineering with the aim of joining up as an engineering officer and after my first year of university, I applied.”

She joined the RNZAF after her third year of study at the University of Canterbury as part of the RNZAF’s undergraduate scheme, which meant the remainder of her university fees were covered.

P Offr Scott, who attended Waitaki Girls’ High School, also did work experience with the RNZAF during her summer holidays.

Over the next few years, she will do further engineering training through the RNZAF’s general officer training course.

Her first posting is as a junior engineering officer at the Maintenance Support Squadron in Auckland. She eventually hopes to be assigned to a post where she will see more action.

“In the future, I would like to be posted to one of the flying squadrons, to get the best look at the front end of our military air operations and to have the best chance at travel opportunities.”

P Offr Scott had thoroughly enjoyed her time with the RNZAF, and planned to stay for the “foreseeable future”.

“I’ve met a number of great new people in the RNZAF and the wider NZDF, and through the experiences we’ve shared during training, I’m sure some of us will remain friends for life.

“The RNZAF really is a workplace that’s all about the people, which I think is excellent.

“I’ve already learned a huge amount in a relatively short period of time, which at times was very challenging, and had many great experiences that would not have been possible anywhere other than the military.”

P Offr Scott tried to visit Oamaru as often as possible, but said that was not always easy.

“I try to get back there when I can, particularly as my partner still lives there, although it isn’t the most accessible place from Blenheim.”

She said anyone considering joining the RNZAF should not be afraid to give it a go.

“I think one thing is not being too hesitant to join. Yes, it is a big commitment, but it is really rewarding in the skills you get, the people you meet, and the experiences you have.”