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General Technician Workshops

currently open

The facts

Job description

You'll handle plenty of engineering machinery and processes, from milling machines to making sheet metal parts.



Pay after training


Joining age

16 - 29

Similar civilian jobs

  • Fabricator
  • Welder
  • Machine shop operator
  • Engineering fitter

Usual service

9 years


Citizen of the UK or the Republic of Ireland, or a Commonwealth citizen since birth

Open to

male or female

Qualifications you need

3 GCSE/SCEs at Grade C/2 minimum or 3 SNEs at Grade 5 or equivalent, in English Language, Maths and an approved science/technology-based subject. This role requires a Physics based science subject. Please check by reading this document (opens in a new window).

Qualifications you can gain

 City & Guilds Level 3 Progression Award in engineering fabrication and welding; NVQ Level 3 in engineering production as part of an Advanced Apprenticeship


Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided there for the five years immediately preceding your application.

The job

General Technicians Workshops manufacture and repair aircraft components and parts for other equipment essential to the RAF. 

You’ll begin your career on an operational flying station.

There, you’ll learn how to carry out a wide range of tasks using a variety of engineering machinery, plant and processes.

These could include milling machines, centre lathes, grinding and other machine tools; welding using oxyacetylene, electric and inert gas processes; and the manufacture of sheet metal parts involving heat treatment, bending, riveting and soldering.

As you gain skills and experience, you may have the opportunity to work on more specialised equipment.

The RAF’s technician training earns you a National Engineering Certificate at Level 3 and an Advanced Apprenticeship, including an NVQ Level 3.

Whatever your skills when you join, you can be sure of getting valuable training in a specialist trade.

I do this job

General Technician Workshops

Andy Brooks
General Technician Workshops

‘The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight did an overhaul of their Lancaster bomber and I made all the engine-mounting bolts for it!’

My role

‘I’ve done all the advanced courses in turning, grinding and milling but I still work primarily as a machinist, making aircraft parts from scratch.’

My day

‘I get a lot of job satisfaction because I love working with the aircraft – if it was engineering for washing machines I wouldn’t be satisfied. And there can be so much variety in what you do too.’

My experiences

‘From the time I went into the Armed Forces Careers Office to the day I started my recruit training was less than three weeks, so I had to train hard to get myself ready.

‘It was a bit of a culture shock: I was 17, had never been away from home and found myself sharing a room with 18 blokes. Plus, we were on the go from 5am to midnight. But I made a lot of good friends that I still keep in touch with, and after the first week I really enjoyed it.’

My life

‘It’s very handy living on the station: I live only a couple of hundred yards from where I work and I’ve got the gym right on my doorstep. I like to keep fit and do a bit of weight training, and the gym’s a good place to socialise, believe it or not, because you see the same people and you get to know them.’


Recruit training

Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you’ll also learn about the RAF lifestyle

Specialist Training

The next step is a specialist training course at RAF St Athan, near Cardiff, which lasts approximately 15 months.

You’ll be enrolled on an Advanced Apprenticeship and a team of RAF and civilian instructors will teach you production engineering principles.

You’ll then put the theory into practice when learning the three main disciplines of sheet metalwork, welding and machining.

On successful completion of the training course, you’ll be awarded a City & Guilds Level 3 Progression Award in Engineering Fabrication and Welding before your first posting.

Your specialist training, along with the experience you gain on the job, will lead to the award of an NVQ Level 3 in Engineering Production, and your Advanced Apprenticeship could be completed within three years of joining the RAF.

Ongoing development

As your career progresses, you’ll develop your production engineering techniques and we’ll continue to train you in new skills.

You’ll learn many processes and use a much wider range of equipment than you might come across outside the RAF.

You’ll receive advanced training in welding, turning, milling and sheet metalwork using computer numerical controlled applications.

There are also opportunities for management and leadership training.

In addition, the qualifications and experience you’ll gain in your RAF career can be used to meet the joining criteria for relevant civilian professional associations.

Your future

Career prospects

You’ll initially join the RAF for a period of nine years.

After a year, and on completion of your initial specialist training, you’ll be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman/woman if you pass a short trade ability test.

Further promotion to the rank of Corporal and beyond is by competitive selection.

Transferable skills

The Advanced Apprenticeship, NVQ Level 3 and acknowledged registration within an appropriate civilian professional institution, leads to the award of Engineering Technician status; which is an internationally recognised standard of professional achievement.

These qualifications are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF – which means that whenever you decide to leave the RAF, you’ll be well placed to find a job in engineering.

Apply now

Call us on

0845 605 5555

  • Mon-Fri8am to 8pm
  • Sat9am to 6pm
  • Sun10am to 4pm
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