The team responsible for the welfare of personnel at RAF Coningsby are keen to shake off the shackles of any negative attitudes towards their section that may have been prevalent in the past.
Warrant Officer Jon Sykes, of the Personnel Management Squadron (PMS), admitted that for many years throughout the RAF there had been ‘some negativity towards the Personnel Services Flight’, but at RAF Coningsby they are working hard to change all that.
WO Sykes said: “Our collective aim is to make sure we are supporting the rest of the Unit as much as we possibly can.
“From serious welfare cases one minute to annual leave balance enquiries the next, I want the Station to know that we are here to help.
“We’ve listened to our customers and what they need and we are open from 0730 until 1800 now to cater for everyone, whether they are on shifts or working days.
“I always allude to a saying my mum used when I was younger: ‘Treat people like you want to be treated yourself and you’ll never go wrong’. That has stuck with me over the years and is still true now.”
The Flight was renamed over a year ago to the Human Resources (HR) Flight to better reflect what the team does on a daily basis.
Whilst WO Sykes enjoys his job and is proud to lead a vibrant, customer focussed team, there are down sides to his job.
He explained: “I think our external communications could be better sometimes The recent pay review must have been felt across the service as a complete sledgehammer – it was our job to soften the blow.
“When the initial pay schemes were implemented, our response was to carry out a 100 per cent pay review to make sure no one was taking a pay cut. This wasn’t an initiative that was delivered by our Command, but something that we as a Flight decided to do. What we do at RAF Coningsby works for RAF Coningsby and is seen amongst the RAF as one of the best HR Flights.”
One of the newest members of the team is Sergeant Hayley Sinclair, who took up the post of HR Welfare Officer in October.
She said: “This is a new role. I basically assist WO PMS but also act as a sign posting service to help our people get the right advice at the right time.
“There are bad days of course, when you are dealing with a lot of serious welfare cases, sometimes that can feel a bit overwhelming as you just want to do your best for people. Of course, you have to weigh that against the good days when the job satisfaction is brilliant because you know you’ve helped someone and made a difference.”
Whatever the previous preconceptions, the current team responsible for welfare and administrative support is working hard to change the face of the service they provide and ensure that negativity is a thing of the past.