Corporal Peter Smith is a personnel administrator in the RAF. He's currently based at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium.
What does an RAF personnel administrator do?
Here in Belgium, a RAF personnel administrator organises pay, leave and allowances for RAF personnel and we also look after their personal documents. It's very people-related, and involves a lot of contact with customers, both on the phone and face to face.
What else have you done?
I've also been a personal assistant to a senior officer. And for a couple of years, my role was in IT support – I went round the RAF installing new hardware and software, and did some general trouble-shooting on computer systems.
What is a normal day of a RAF Personnel administrator?
Our normal working hours are 8am to 5pm, with an hour off for lunch. When I get to work in the morning, the first thing I do is put the kettle on. Then I start updating the personnel database with the day's inputs. There's a lot of customer contact throughout the day – people coming in with queries about allowances and pay, for example. I also process travel claims and check annual leave entitlements.
What do you do in the evenings?
I live on base and really enjoy the multicultural side of being here. I'm a member of the bowling team and my team-mates come from Holland, the US, France and Germany as well as the UK. We also go out on the town – and sample Belgian beers, along with other aspects of the culture.
Have you done any other travelling?
When I was in IT support, I went round all the RAF bases, installing new computer systems. The guys were very good about looking after me and taking me out to see the sights – I think my favourite place was probably Gibraltar.
What's the best thing about being a RAF personnel administratorthe job?
The variety. How many other administrative jobs would let you move between personnel, financial management and IT!
RAF personnel administrator tips
- If you work in a customer-facing role, it's good to learn to bite your tongue. And it's a skill you can take outside the RAF as well.
How to become a RAF personnel administrator
- After basic training, you'll do a fourmonth course in administration and personnel management skills.
- You'll then get an NVQ Level 2 in Administration, before you start your first posting on an RAF base.
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