The RAAF School of Technical Training has developed a mentoring program for Navy, Army and Air Force trainees.

The triservice program is called Your Options Unlocked (YOU).

There are 37 volunteer mentors from all three services and a range of units at RAAF Base Wagga, including corporals through to the RAAF School of Technical Training’s (RAAFSTT) Commanding Officer Wing Commander Sheena Stapleton.

The YOU program aims to establish a mentoring culture at the unit to support the development of RAAFSTT trainees while enhancing the mentoring skills and experience of RAAFSTT staff. 

Trainees who volunteer to join the program receive career advice, professional growth and development and contemporary advice from experienced ADF personnel.

Course Military Adviser at RAAFSTT Sergeant Elizabeth Lawson contributed significantly to the development of the YOU program and has mentored a number of female trainees.

She said her passion was to inspire the next generation of aviation technicians.

The YOU program has achieved great results, which Aircraftwoman Charlie Atkins can confirm.

“The mentoring support I received from Sergeant Lawson was specific to me, built to work on what I believed I was struggling in, and aimed specifically at my resilience, determination and confidence,” she said.

“The YOU program helped me work on my flaws, making me stronger not only as an individual, but also as a member of the Air Force.

“I now have the confidence, resilience and determination to be the best Air Force woman I can be.”

I have found the mentor program to be a very positive experience and one I would definitely recommend.

Aircraftwoman Jesse Ramm, a RAAFSTT trainee, said her peers were encouraged to participate in the program after she shared her experience of being mentored by Sergeant Lawson.

“Having Sergeant Lawson as my mentor has been invaluable to my start at RAAFSTT,” she said.

“I have mostly valued her compassion, openness and willingness to engage about ordinary things like learning to live a new life with different priorities from the civilian world.”

Another RAAFSTT trainee, Aircraftwoman Ebony Warren, said the YOU program helped her feel supported and expanded her Air Force network. 

“Having Sergeant Lawson as a mentor has given me a point of contact who can provide emotional and mental support in a more informal setting and someone who I can go to when I need advice,” she said.

“Overall, I found the mentor program to be a very positive experience and one I would definitely recommend as it allows for another support network to be established, ensuring you feel valued as a trainee.”

The YOU program mentors collaborate regularly to develop mentoring skills and look at ways to improve the program to ensure it remains contemporary and effective in meeting its mission.