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Former Sport Student Now Flying High With RAF Falcons

11th Jan 2021

Having recently featured in a local Witney newspaper, we caught up with former student Paddy Guillois to hear about what he enjoyed most about his time at college and his exciting career experiences as a Sergeant with the RAF:

What school did you attend before college?

I attended Carterton Community College from 2006-2011 before moving on to Abingdon & Witney College to study sports coaching and fitness in Witney.

What was your college experience like?

College was great for me. It was more than just a diploma in sports coaching and fitness; it was definitely a development for life.

A big reason for this was due to John Gunter, who was our college course lead. He would find ways to bring people out of their shell, which at the time you might think was just a bit of fun, however looking back it was definitely a confidence builder. The course was an ideal stepping stone for what I wanted to do next in life. I gained experience in leading/instructing a large variety of groups and activities and as I mentioned before the small things that build up confidence that were just a bonus to John’s teaching style. The other Instructors were also fantastic and all brought something really great to the course.

What was your favourite part?

I had a really good course around me. A lot of like-minded people which made for a really enjoyable two years at the college. Some highlights were definitely visiting the Ardèche and just having a really good laugh day-to-day with my friends. I’ve always really enjoyed teaching so the amount of experience we managed to get teaching at schools was good for my development as well.

What have you gone on to do since you left college?

After leaving college, I joined the military straight away. I applied to join up whilst still on my college course and the application process took about 11 months, from the first phone call to actually starting my basic training.

RAF Basic training was 10 weeks, followed by a 9 month Physical Training Instructor course (this is now only a 6 month course). After that I worked at RAF Brize Norton gym, before moving to the Parachute school to do my Parachute Jumping Instructor course. Once graduated I delivered Parachute training to Airborne forces. I did this for two years before being selected to represent the RAF as part of the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team. This was a big dream of mine before I joined up so I couldn’t be happier.

In my 6 years of service I have spent about 5 months in California parachuting, and visited many countries such as, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland and Austria. I’ve spent around 3 weeks skiing with the RAF and done a lot of adventure training activities around the UK as well. I am extremely happy with my decision to join the military!

Photo credit: MOD Crown Copyright