After a major setback early in her career, Flying Officer Jessica Williams is now living her dream.
Almost a decade ago, she tried and failed to gain entry into officer training.
“In my initial officer recruitment testing in 2013 I didn’t perform as well as I had hoped, which led me to join RAAF as a supplier despite wanting to be a logistics officer,” Flying Officer Williams explained.
She says she enjoyed being a supplier, working at 3 Squadron, 4 Squadron, and Headquarters Air Command. In that role, she participated in multiple domestic and international exercises including a deployment on Operation Okra.
Still, she was determined to achieve her dream, and started to do whatever she could to make herself more competitive, including commencing university studies online, talking with logistics members and participating in Air Force coaching programs.
Flying Officer Williams graduated from the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in December last year, having entered via the Air Force’s Aviator Access to the Academy (AAA) Scheme in 2020.
She also earned the highest academic score in the program at University of New South Wales (Canberra).
“Being offered the opportunity to study at ADFA under the AAA Scheme really helped me focus on my studies,” Flying Officer Williams said.
“For my hard work to be recognised and awarded as the Best Student in Business from ADFA was definitely a highlight and made it feel as though everything had been worth it.”
Her success follows years of hard work, commitment and dedication to serve as an Air Force officer, following in the footsteps of her father.
“What got me through this process was reflecting on how far I had come since joining and how much I had to offer Defence through my experience. I knew my enlistment scores weren’t an accurate representation of my capabilities and I couldn’t let them hold me back anymore,” she said.
The advice that Flying Officer Williams has for other people who are knocked back initially is to keep trying and to consider alternative pathways to their chosen job.
“Everyone’s journey is different and my experience shows that if you aren’t successful in achieving your dream job the first time around, there are plenty of opportunities available in Defence to get to where you want to be,” she said.
Flying Officer Williams is now posted to Logistics Support Branch.