Lt Bullen, aged 28, from Bridge of Allan, Stirling, is part of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (1 LANCS), who are currently deployed to Helmand. She helps develop the soldiers’ core skills in maths and English as well as helping them to complete leadership courses for promotion. She said:
My job here is to continue the education of 1 LANCS soldiers. The soldiers have periods of downtime, they’re not continuously out fighting, and it is during these periods that I’m here to do education.
I open up the education centre in Shawqat and then anyone can drop in. I have lots of guys on camp who are doing courses at the moment and they pop by when they have a spare five or ten minutes, ask some questions, get some more work from me and then get back to their day jobs.
Whilst deployed, it’s Lt Bullen’s job to teach the soldiers of 1 LANCS and get them through the necessary courses that they need to do. This can mean working out of the education centre or going forward, carrying the kit she’ll need, to the patrol bases and checkpoints to ensure that front line soldiers do not miss out:
When I go forward to the smaller bases it is quite difficult. I take the absolute minimum resources,” she said. “I take one calculator and one dictionary but I have to improvise with what I’ve got there - I’ll use stones if needs be!
For Lt Bullen, who gained her PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) in adult education through the Army, it is not just about getting soldiers through the necessary courses to enable them to be promoted, it is about giving them lasting skills to take away with them when they leave the Army:
We do basic numeracy and literacy and also Command, Leadership and Management courses, which is the course they need to do to promote,” she said. “It is actually a civilian qualification as well. It’s Level 1 numeracy and literacy, so they can use it when they leave the Army.