My name is is Marie-Antoinette Ferreira-Pursley and I work as an Occupational Therapist at NELFT and I'm also a veteran.
My journey started as an aircraft woman when I was a 18 years old. I was then demobbed as a corporal in the Woman’s Royal Air Force (WRAF). I had always wanted to join, as I felt that I had a lot to offer, and had heard about the camaraderie and the inclusion in this extraordinary family. I became a Store woman, but as I had trained as a secretary prior to joining up, I ended up being a Personal Assistant to the Wing Commander of my first unit, and the Wing Adjutant. I was then posted to Rheindalen, Germany where I was again a personal assistant to my Squadron Commander, until I returned to England, where I was again a personal assistant to my Squadron Commander before I was de-mobbed.
In the military, the culture is very much about:
- Taking responsibility and being responsible
- Empowered to owning up if you made an honest mistake, and bring to the table solutions to remedy the error
- Doing the best job you can
- Taking ownership for continuous professional development
- Being innovative in performing your role
- Time management
- Working within a structure.
I learnt that it didn’t matter what culture you came from, of what level or role you held in civilian life, we all worked towards a common goal as a team.
At this time I did not know I was dyslexic. These values were important to me as I grew up, and I was supported by the Senior non-commissioned officers I worked with, as well as my peers.
Joining NELFT has felt like coming home in a way, as the values of NELFT very much reflected the values I learnt whilst in the Air Force. I have worked in many different sectors of business, including Merchant Banking in some of the blue chip organisation in the City of London, and yet the closest I have come to being able to continue with the values I learn in the Air Force, are mirrored the most within NELFT.
As an Occupational Therapist, all the skills I'd gained are necessary skills, like putting people first. The values I'd gained previously align perfectly with the NELFT values. After working within the Trust for the past 3 years, I can’t think of anywhere else I could work, where I feel happy and as enthusiastic today as the day I started.