Learning six languages and working in accounting before joining Air Force has given Leading Aircraftman Ryan Lye a unique perspective to life and work.

Leading Aircraftman Lye is an air intelligence analyst with No. 82 Tactical Intelligence Flight at RAAF Base Amberley. 

He also worked at Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth, No. 460 Squadron and Headquarters Information Warfare Directorate.

He said his diverse life experiences helped bring a different approach to how he worked.

“I grew up in Malaysia and moved to Australia in 2008 for my accounting and finance degree at the University of Newcastle, NSW. After I graduated, I was an auditor in Ernst & Young before joining the Air Force in 2016,” Leading Aircraftman Lye said. 

“As I grew up in Malaysia, English, Malay and Chinese [languages] were compulsory in preschool, primary school and secondary school and with exposure to other languages in my daily life, this means I can now speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Malay and Indonesian.

“Being a polyglot, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to provide linguistic support for No. 19 Squadron, Royal Malaysian Air Force Butterworth.”

About 25.9 per cent of the Air Force workforce identifies as being from a culturally and/or linguistically diverse background, with Air Force members born in 113 countries and speaking 72 languages. 

Leading Aircraftman Lye said being inclusive was important.

“My diverse background and experiences allow me to have a better insight on specific society, culture, religion and economic for intelligence analysis and decision-making,” he said. 

“By having a diverse workforce, everyone looks at things differently, with varying problem-solving skills - even my experience from the corporate world means I was able to tackle the mission with a unique approach.

“We can support each other by building awareness of diversity and fostering greater inclusivity. One way this can be achieved is by acknowledging a variety of religious and cultural holidays, asking our members how they plan to celebrate and ensuring we’re respectful of scheduling other activities on these days.”

Air Force is proud to be part of Harmony Week, celebrating Australia’s cultural diversity from March 22 to 26.