Vix Anderton, a former RAF Intelligence Officer, shares her transition story.
Vix joined the RAF in 2005, having been in the Officer Training Corps at Manchester University, where she studied Economics and Politics. She graduated as an Intelligence Officer in 2007, and fulfilled a variety of roles during her 10 year career.
Vix started to consider the possibility of a different career while studying a Service-sponsored Master’s Degree in War Studies at King’s College London. Vix’s dissertation was on Female Engagement Teams in Afghanistan and the military’s role in the Women, Peace and Security agenda, which helped her to realise she had a passion for women’s rights and gender issues. At the same time, she worked with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the world’s oldest independent think tank on international defence and security, to establish the Under 35s Forum. This involved organising many events and meeting people working in different industries, which gave her insight into the other options out there.
After completing her studies, Vix began to consider her career ambitions. She contacted the OA in 2010 after it was recommended by her father, who is also a former officer. Fiona Jackson, an OA Career Consultant, discussed with Vix her career options in a face-to-face meeting. Later, Fiona referred Vix to a specialist in interview techniques, who helped her to effectively demonstrate her skillset to potential employers. Vix has kept in contact with Fiona ever since.
Vix said: “The OA really helped me to understand my career options. I felt more confident in my decisions, knowing I could ask for advice.”
After leaving the RAF in 2014, Vix completed a two-month internship in the BBC High Risk Team, and then returned to RUSI as a Research Fellow. Although Vix enjoyed this work, she realised she no longer wanted to work in defence and security. International development appealed, but it was initially challenging to find the right opportunities.
She left RUSI and applied for both a military internship at Goldman Sachs, and the International Citizenship Scheme (ICS) with the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), which provides overseas volunteer placements. She was offered both opportunities, but was unsure which was best for her so asked Fiona for advice. Vix chose the ICS because it was so relevant to her interests – the project focused on women’s economic empowerment – and felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.