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Aircraft handler hopes to encourage more women to join the Royal Navy

A Royal Navy aircraft handler from Windsor is now ‘living the dream’ and hopes to encourage more women to apply for a career in the military.

Sophie Levy is serving as a naval airman on the support vessel RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) Argus after nine months of demanding training.

The 22-year-old said it has always been her ambition to join the Royal Navy.

Her role involves working as part of a team of aircraft handlers who have to manoeuvre and secure navy helicopters at sea, often in difficult and dangerous conditions.

Speaking about the training involved, she said: “The naval airman’s qualifying course itself is 32 weeks long.

“You must pass both written and practical elements. While I found the practical elements pretty straight forward, I did struggle with the theoretical exams and it didn’t help that the pass mark was fairly high.”

Speaking about the small percentage of women in the Royal Navy, Sophie said this ‘is a great shame’.

“However, publishing articles like this I hope will encourage more women to start applying not only to the Royal Navy but any military service,” she added.

Despite the lack of women in her profession, Sophie said she has not experienced any additional challenges or prejudices as a result of her gender.

“All the exams and assessments are all set to the same standards whether you’re male or female.

“I must admit when I first started firefighting foundation training rolling 70m hoses out on the fire ground as quickly as possible was very difficult, however you build yourself up with lots of practice and physical training.

“I am definitely fitter than I was when I joined HMS Raleigh back in September 2018.”

Her advice to anyone willing to join her in the navy airman position is to apply a positive mental attitude and commit 100 per cent effort into any task.

“Joining the Royal Navy was always my ambition since a young age,” she said.

“It sounds cheesy but I am literally living the dream.”

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