Class of women makes instructor training history

The first all-female cohort has graduated from the Royal Australian Air Force’s military skills instructor course.

CAPTION: The all-female class of Military Skills Instructor Course graduates (from left): Flight Sergeant Jessie Blackburn, Leading Aircraftwoman Sarah Probyn, Corporal Danielle Cowan and Corporal Kelly Jeffery. Story by Squadron Leader Greg Kilpatrick and Flight Lieutenant Kate Davis.

The course, the first military skills instructor course of the year through No. 1 Recruit Training Unit, ran over nine weeks from February to April, covering instruction of drill and core military skills, and weapons instructor training.

While COVID-19 reduced potential enrolments, the class of four worked in close collaboration to produce quality theory, and practical drill and weapons handling lessons, to complete the course.

Additional units included core military skills, mental health first aid, human factor enhancement and the management of recruits in initial military training.

Course participant Flight Sergeant Jessie Blackburn said development and leadership of junior staff required responsibility and trust.

“Military skills instructors are no longer archaic authoritarian members,” Flight Sergeant Blackburn said.

“We are professional, energetic and fun members who understand the cultural intelligence required to lead the next generation of aviators in an exciting, but disciplined adult-learning environment.”

Passionate about the opportunity to mentor the next generation of aviators, Corporal Kelly Jeffery put up her hand to become an instructor because she could see the personal and professional development potential.

“Nurturing and facilitating the development of aviators under instruction are career skills that I plan to hone during my time as a military-skills instructor,” Corporal Jeffery said.

Commanding Officer of No. 1 Recruit Training Uni, Wing Commander Darren Dolan said the instructors were a critical component of Royal Australian Air Force capability.

“There is no air and space power without our aviators, and there are no aviators without military skills instructors,” Wing Commander Darren Dolan said.





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