NEWS

MARCH 25TH 2019

‘I hope my child will learn never to give up’ – first-time mum lifts the lid on life in the Reserves

Suzanne, her fiancé Rob and their son Cameron

Senior Aircraftman Suzanne, her fiancé Rob and their son Cameron

A new mother is encouraging other women to join the Royal Air Force Reserves as a way of developing new skills and improving their confidence.

Senior Aircraftman Suzanne Dunks, aged 29, is a first-time mum to eight-month-old Cameron and currently serves as a Chef as part of 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron.

Suzanne joined the Reserves in 2005 and has a passion for learning which has seen her progress her military career.

Suzanne (front row, second from right) at her Reservist graduation

Suzanne (front row, second from right) at her Reservist graduation

Suzanne said: “I have always wanted to join the military because of a keen interest I had fostered from my Grandad, who served in the Army. I have had the opportunity to learn new skills and to do so with like-minded people. Everyone in the Reserves is there because they want to be, this means you are always surrounded by an enthusiastic group of people.

“I’ve always said that the best part about being a Reservist is being part of a team. This was brought to life in the Joint Caterer Competition in 2017, when I worked as part of a team of three to produce competition style dishes in the field. There was stiff competition but we took home a gold medal and came second overall.”

Describing the support she has received from her Squadron since the birth of her baby, Suzanne explained: “Having Cameron has changed my priorities but the Squadron are happy to work around this and they support you in any way they can.

“I hope my child will see what I am achieving as a Reservist and that he will learn how important it is to never give up on something that you really want. That you can push yourself to achieve more than you ever dreamt possible.”

She continues: “Being in the Reserves can sometimes be tough but it is always rewarding. When I was pregnant with Cameron I completed an advanced skills course which was good fun but certainly a challenge. It was hard at times to keep up with everyone but I pushed myself harder than ever. It was an amazing opportunity to work alongside colleagues from the regular RAF, as well as learn new skills within catering.”

Suzanne and her team mates at the Joint Caterer Competition in 2017

Suzanne and her team mates at the Joint Caterer Competition in 2017

Encouraging others to follow in her footsteps, Suzanne explains why it is important that women are represented in the military.

She said: “Working in a male dominated environment isn’t as daunting as it may sound, in fact it is the last thing you think about as you are welcomed in by the Squadron. Women are treated as equals and it is recognised that women can do the same job as men and that we can often bring different ideas to the table.”

Reflecting on her return to the Reserves following the birth of Cameron, Suzanne said: “I have had one weekend away so far and it was nice to be back doing something I loved. I was sad to be away from Cameron and it was tough at first but once I was back with my friends and colleagues it felt like I had never been away.”

For further information about joining the Royal Air Force Reserve, call 0345 606 9069 or visit www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment

“I hope my child will see what I am achieving as a Reservist and that he will learn how important it is to never give up on something that you really want. That you can push yourself to achieve more than you ever dreamt possible.”