When Leading Seaman Aviation Technician - Avionics Lauren Short joined the Navy eight years ago, her eyes were firmly fixed on a technical job.
“I had an aptitude for all things mechanical and was drawn to the aviation branch because of my family background.
“Both grandparents were in the Royal Air Force with my grandmother becoming the first female Royal Adjutant while my brother was a civilian pilot,” she said.
Leading Seaman Short had just finished year 12 and working casual jobs in sales and administration as she searched for an apprenticeship. Navy provided the opening she needed and she has not looked back since.
“I love my job and believe I picked the right job as an Aviation Technician - Avionics. Helicopters are an impressive piece of machinery and I am constantly learning new things,” she said.
“My training has been nothing short of first class. I’ve been able though Navy to get my Certificate IV in Aircraft Mechanical Engineering and was lucky enough to be picked to complete a civilian engines course with Turbomecha as well as having three different helicopter types under my belt.”
Leading Seaman Short first went to sea in 2009 in HMAS Success to China and Singapore followed by a posting to HMAS Kanimbla in 2010 and Exercise RIMPAC in Hawaii.
Other postings have included Darwin, Townsville and Jindabyne and most recently to Jacksonville, Florida where she is providing technical support to NUSQN 725 working on the new Romeo class MH-60R Seahawk.
She acknowledges that her own career path was paved by members of the Women’s Royal Australian Navy which recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first intake of women into previously male technical fields.
“I am so proud of those pioneering women and it makes me happy that it may have taken a few years but women like me are now equals in these 'non-traditional' roles because of them, she said.
Her own advice to other women seeking a technical trade in the Navy?
“If you have a keen interest in a technical role go for it and don't listen to anyone who is 'concerned' about you choice.
“I enjoy my job and it has been one of the best decisions in my life,” she said.
“My family are constantly telling me how proud they are and they are very supportive. My partner is also in the Navy and he is very supportive and helpful with my career,” she said.
Leading Seaman Short says that although she misses her family at times, she has loved her time in the United States.
“Getting a helicopter with a problem and working with my team to fix it and get it back out there is the favourite part of job.
“I love that I go to work everyday not knowing what will happen, it's always something different,” she said.