A YOUNG employee at a pump installation firm is preparing for life in combat after realising her dream of joining the Army.
Emily Roberts, 17, will begin training as an avionics specialist at the REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) in June and is already relishing the prospect of life on the front line. Since the age of 14 when she undertook work experience with the Army, has dreamed of fighting for her country and hoped she would get to go to Afghanistan.
While she knows that is unlikely to happen now, she is looking forward to travelling the world when she completes her training and believes the qualifications she’s undertaken during her year with provider C & A Pumps & Engineering, Hartlepool will help her in her role within avionics.
Emily, whose dad Alan Roberts is managing director of the company, said: “When it came to deciding where to go on work experience, I didn’t know what I wanted so when the Army careers team came into school, I thought it sounded interesting and that’s what I chose to do.”
Emily, a former Dyke House pupil, has also worked at Sedgefield Racecourse as part of her work experience and has returned several times volunteering to assist the sales and marketing office and has worked for the past three years at a Racing Stables near Sedgefield on a weekend.
She added: “I think growing up with two older brothers meant I was always a bit of a tomboy so the Army appealed to me and I really enjoyed it. I knew then that a career representing my country was what I wanted to do.
“I started working for C & A Pumps as an administrator on a part-time basis until I could begin my training which has been great. It’s been really beneficial as during my time with the company I’ve been on quite a few health and safety courses which I know are going to help me when I start my training in June.”
Among the qualifications Emily has passed are the IOSH Managing Safely certificate & Preparing to Teach Life Long Learning Skills (PTTLS) Level 3, which means she can work on high risk sites such as chemical plants, and is also qualified to work in Confined Spaces. She is also certified to work on Drinking Water Systems carrying a Water Hygiene Qualification in addition to holding a Safety Passport & Site Supervisors Safety Passport, all qualifications usually undertaken by people much older than her 17 years.
She will undertake a six-week period of isolated training followed by 24 weeks of general training, before being ready for action. And as she will eventually be responsible for the maintenance and repair of Apache Helicopters, flown by Prince Harry.
She said: “I really wanted to go to Afghanistan but that isn’t going to happen now as we’re withdrawing. But there are so many places around the world I want to visit that I don’t mind where I end up, just as long as I am involved in the action as eventually I’d like to be in combat.
“Right now I feel indifferent about going. I know it’s going to be a massive change, especially the six weeks of isolated training. But it’s what I want to do and everyone is being so supportive, although my friends think I’m mental.”
Alan, whose company is a big supporter of the Help For Heroes chairty, added: “Emily has done a great job since joining the team a year ago but we knew it was only temporary and now she’s ready for what’s going to be a massive challenge and opportunity for her. As her Dad first and employer second, I know she’s going to be a great asset to the Army and missed by us.”