Here at Cameo, we are extremely proud to announce that our very own Planning Administrator, Hayley Wren, has passed the Royal Air Force (RAF) aptitude test, having sat through eight testing hours of being judged on a wide range of subjects, from English, all the way through to psychological assessment.

Though Hayley’s family comes with no military background, she has spent the last five and a half years as an Air Cadet – a passion for which she credits the inspiration for embarking on her journey towards RAF.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with the Air Cadets, and they’re obviously always talking about the RAF, different careers and options for the future,” explains Hayley. “Being around that conversation is what really made me want to join – more or less ever since I started.

“It is a lot of hard work and effort, but it doesn’t feel like a job – more a family. You work, you live on base and there’s certain little different things you get from it. So you’re living with the same people that you work with – and it’s like you develop your own little family.”

Once the decision to join the RAF was made, the aptitude test awaited. Applicants are tasked with sitting seven different tests, covering mental maths, logic, reasoning, English, data interpretation, and a psychological assessment. While she didn’t find the tests necessarily as difficult as school exams, Hayley explains why they’re still tough to prepare for.

“I finished my A-levels, and recently had to sit an aptitude test, assessing what careers you would qualify for, and what you should go into.

“In terms of preparation, it I did puzzles every night, and lots of maths and science questions. There’s no real way you can prepare for an aptitude test because they want just natural ability.

“If you’re going to be a pilot or similar, you need to just physically be able to do it. You won’t be able to pass if you don’t know how to do certain things. It was just a lot of that, but I’m very familiar with maths and logic, so I personally didn’t find it massively challenging. Just very tiring!”

There also exists the dreaded soon-to-come fitness test. “I need to overcome fitness because I do not go to the gym enough,” Hayley jokes, “But I’ve started doing boxing every week so that’s starting to get my fitness up.”

The aptitude test is only the start of the journey to becoming a fully fledged member of the RAF, and along with fitness tests, Hayley will be subjected to various interviews and health tests. She is currently waiting to finish her application before deciding whether or not to go on to university – and doing an excellent job at Cameo in the meantime.

But while she waits, Hayley rightfully admits to the pride she has for what she’s already achieved. Having made it to the highest point you can reach as a Cadet, there’s surely only one natural progression.

“I just like being able to say it. It’s quite a proud thing, being able to say you’re part of the RAF. Being a Cadet also helps a lot on my CV. I’ve done a lot with the Cadets over the last five or so years. I reached the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer and went on a three week volunteering trip to South Africa.

“All of these things are on my CV, and help to make me stand out a little bit for the RAF. I’ve sort of been part of a military organisation for a few years, so it would be a good move.”

The Royal Air Force is one thing, but though Hayley is only now taking her first steps into the military, she’s already planning for life after the RAF.

“I’ll be starting my degree in September – at the University of Surrey, to do Electrical Engineering. I initially applied for physics, but being here at Cameo, I’ve actually decided to switch so that in the future, if I decide to come out of the RAF, I can take a new career and do what my dad is doing, UPS [uninterruptible power supply] – something that we do at Cameo as well.

“In the RAF, I’m looking to be one of their RPAS pilots. It’s one of their drone pilots, and as a role it’s one of the coolest ones they’ve got on offer. That’s what I’m thinking of going into after I’ve finished my degree.

Hayley has only been at Cameo for the last four months, but she’s already left a lasting effect. So far, she’s mastered quotes and contracts, and her next step comes in the form of Planning Administrator. But Emma-Beth Anthony, our Head of Sales, cannot speak highly enough of Hayley’s role within the company.

“Hayley does really well with quotes, because naturally it’s quite methodical, and with her ability to remember and learn things quickly, she’s taken to it like a duck to water.” Explains Emma-Beth. “She’s fast tracked her way through it, and she was moved onto contracts quite quickly too.

“Although she hasn’t been with us very long, she’s already excelling and doing extremely well in her role. So while there is a timescale on when she has to leave, Hayley will always be welcomed back into the business with open arms.”

Everyone at Cameo is extremely proud of Hayley, and we can’t wait to watch the rest of her journey unfold!