Royal Air Force (RAF)
Whether in the skies above Britain, or in airspaces around the world, it's our job to protect the United Kingdom against any form of threat. We also act as a force for good in the world - by working to strengthen international peace and security.
To fulfil this vital role, we need highly motivated individuals who we can train to undertake these jobs throughout our organisation. There really is something for everyone and each of those jobs would see you play a key role in one of the world's most advanced military forces.
Forget the stereotype, in the Royal Air Force you'll find people from every background and with different outlooks and interests. There are people who enjoy sport at every level, from beginner to Olympic standard. One thing we have in common is that we're not nine-to-fivers. We take on whatever tasks are required of us to get the job done and rely on our skills and extensive training. "Work hard, play hard" is very much the RAF Ethos.
Case Study 1
Senior Aircraftman (Technician) Ben Warren – Vehicle and Mechanical Equipment Technician
What is your role within the RAF?
I am a vehicle and mechanical equipment technician, working on a wide variety of different specialist airfield vehicles and equipment.
What types of equipment are you working on?
Anything from fire engines to generators, lighting sets to powered air conditioning units. It’s varied and diverse!
What qualifications have you gained while earning a wage as an apprentice in the RAF?
In my trade, I’ve gained an NVQ Level 3 in Heavy Vehicle Maintenance, covering vast topics from engines and hydraulics to air-breaking systems. That was over a period of 18 months. The specialist qualifications are extremely useful.
How would you describe the lifestyle?
It’s excellent. We’re all in the same boat, so you’ve always got people to go down to the bar or the gym, or play sport with. The social side is also incredible. There’s nearly always something going on and plenty to do.
What is the outstanding highlight of your career so far?
Travelling. I enjoy my job in the UK, but when you go away it really feels like you’re playing a big part in the grand scheme of things. Everything makes a difference. If you perform, aeroplanes fly and vehicles run smoothly, which is very rewarding.
What are you top tips for joining the RAF as a new recruit or apprentice?
Keep an open mind and embrace it. There are many opportunities for travel and sport, and the social side is fantastic. Get stuck in and make the most of it!
Case Study 2
Senior Aircraftwoman (Technician) Lucy Ash – ICT Technician
Why did you decide to join the RAF as an ICT Technician?
I joined the RAF when I was 17 years old straight after high school. I decided to join as an ICT Technician because I had no idea what I wanted to study when I finished school, but I knew it was important that I further my education. By joining the RAF as an ICT Technician I got my qualifications while gaining life experience and starting a career.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It’s a big positive that my work values my fitness as much as I do. I also enjoy working on such a variety of technical equipment.
What opportunities has the RAF presented to you?
Since graduating from training the most enjoyable experience has been working as security for the Commonwealth Games. It was amazing to meet all of the athletes and watch the sports when your shift finished or you had a break.
What type of training have you had to do?
During basic training you are taught physical and military skills to a basic level. Then you are sent to trade training where you receive specialised skills for your trade.
What educational opportunities have you had?
The RAF prides itself on providing plenty of education and personal development opportunities. I got an Advanced Apprenticeship upon completion of my technical training. Plus, there’s also a scheme run in conjunction with Staffordshire University that allows me to use many of military specific qualifications towards a degree.
What are your top tips for joining the RAF as an apprentice?
Work on your fitness levels and sharpen your military knowledge before so you can cope with basic and trade training.