The RAF Apprenticeship scheme and its apprentices are celebrating nearly 100 years of history, tradition and excellence by delivering specialist ground crew capable of supporting today’s expeditionary Royal Air Force.
The concept may be traced back to Lord Hugh Trenchard and the birth of the Royal Air Force and it was fitting that this year’s awards ceremony was held at RAF Halton during National Apprenticeship week.
The ceremony was held in the Warrant Officers’ & Sergeants’ Mess and showcased, ‘The Best of the Best’. Whilst it was undoubtedly a day to celebrate the winners it was also the opportunity to acknowledge the Officers Commanding the Ground Training Schools, their staff, Apprenticeship Centres and the Main Operating Bases Line Managers for providing an unrivalled standard of training and guidance.
SAC Lewis Goodwin was recognised for his professionalism, work ethos and team spirit with a Highly Commended award. Since his posting to RAF Lossiemouth he continuously worked to engineering standards commensurate with an experienced technician, belying his time in rank. He has also developed into an excellent mentor for trainees following in his footsteps in the General Engineering Flight. Additionally, SAC Goodwin was specifically selected as part of the Station’s support to a major overseas NATO exercise, and volunteered for additional duties in support of recent operational commitments.
SAC Colin Appleton is a general technician in the Station Workshop at RAF Lossiemouth. He was awarded a Personal Achievement Award for his efforts to succeed despite his severe dyslexia. After being given support to raise his awareness of his necessary approach to learning, (which he applied effectively), he progressed and gained an understanding of his condition. By showing great tenacity and motivation and displaying a high level of maturity he took ownership, going from strength to strength by self directing his learning, out performing his peers in all aspects of his training. During his initial training SAC Appleton was awarded the Commanding Officer’s Trophy for best all round performance, the Harlech Trophy for the highest standard of RAF core values and military skills, the Physical Education shield for best overall performance, the Cameron Award for the most improved student, and the prestigious Worshipful Company of Turners Award for achieving the highest average during the turning phase of his training
SAC Appleton said: “It was a real surprise to win an award especially with my learning difficulties and I know my parents are really proud”. Colin’s parents Gill and Keith echoed his sentiments when his Mum said: “It’s unbelievable what he has achieved in the RAF and we’re very proud of him”.
Gp Capt (Retired) Duncan Grant from the RAF Halton Apprentice Association summed up the event when he said: ”I found every story inspiring and not just in the technical aspect but also in the personal and leadership aspect and it was nice to see their families supporting them”.
Air Vice-Marshal AM Turner, Air Officer Commanding of 22(Training) Group, presented the awards and said of the event: “It was fabulous again to present a glittering array of awards to the finest of our young airman and airwomen. Their technical prowess is beyond question but what is especially noteworthy is how engaged they are beyond their immediate work and in what the Royal Air Force can offer”.