Charlotte Holt, Training Manager, RAF Cranwall

I had joined the RAF, aged 19, straight from school and spent the next 19 years travelling the world and enjoying nearly every minute of my job; the people, the places, the variety of roles that I was given and some amazing experiences. After giving birth to my daughter, whilst I still enjoyed my work my priorities had changed and my family needed to come first. I decided to leave the RAF and started to look for a new job but struggled to find something that I felt met exactly what I was looking for.

What attracted you to work at Ascent?

I wanted something that was interesting, inspiring and was going to push me to develop my second career in the right direction. This proved to be a little more challenging than I originally thought until I found the role of Operations Manager on the Ascent Flight Training website. It appeared this could give me exactly what I was looking for: the core values, variety and challenges that I enjoyed so much in my career in the RAF combined with my experience in flying training as both a student and instructor. I applied for the role in June 2017, and in November 2017 I started working back where my very own flying training had taken place, at RAF Cranwell.

I can honestly say that working at Ascent is something that I relish for a multitude of reasons. I started my career on site at Cranwell, for the initial set up before any aircraft were even due to get airborne. Being part of a programme from its introduction gives me and the rest of our team a real sense of pride when we see what we have achieved in such a short period of time. Of course were some problems along the way; what a boring job it would be if every day was the same, but I enjoy trying to meet these challenges head-on and endeavour to find a solution and a way to improve the system and to help those around me to ensure that we achieve our primary role – that of teaching people to fly!

As Operations Manager, my job was different every day. There were days when I ensured that the Ops room was ready for the flying day, starting with preparing the early brief, ensuring the aircraft are allocated and fuelled correctly and assuring the information in the Mission Planning room is accurate and up-to-date. On other days I may be delivering Human Factors training across the company to facilitate a safe and just culture company-wide.

There were those days that were filled with meetings or interviews, and days where I could be gathering statistics to try and ascertain if we are working as productively as we can be. It was this variety within my role that made it so interesting. I was apprehensive about leaving the military as it was all that I had known for such a long time and I wasn’t sure how life as a civilian would suit me but I know that I have made the right decision.

After 4 years as Operations Manager I have been lucky enough to secure a promotion and a dream job as Ascent Training Manager at RAF Cranwell which I started in November 2020.

What does your role at Ascent entail?

As Training Manager my primary responsibility is for the delivery and output of all Cranwell based UKMFTS courses. I manage the throughput of students as part of the UKMFTS program, and also act in the capacity as a ‘Flight Commander’ reviewing students’ progress and advising in student remedial action plans.

I also ensure that the necessary resources are available for the daily task to enable planning and execution of the daily flying programme to meet the customer requirement.

What do you enjoy most about working at Ascent?

It’s got to be the people that I work with. We have a great team at Cranwell which works cohesively to ensure that output of students is delivered in the most effective and efficient way. Additionally, hand on heart, I can honestly say it is the role in which I have felt most valued for my contributions and efforts. I have had many different roles over the years, but since working for Ascent I feel like I am truly appreciated. The right person is picked to fill the right roles, and this helps you to personally feel that you have been selected for your skill set.

What are the benefits of working at Ascent & why you would recommend working here?

I think that Ascent offers a great reward package and opportunities for personal development; as well as providing the best of both worlds in that the tasks and team working are enjoyable. The company looks after its employees through a wellbeing benefits package (including mental health awareness, Ascent benefits, BUPA health cover) and this all adds up to make it a Company that I am both proud and happy to work for.