Sponsorship & Education

The RAF train all their personnel to the highest standards and offer scholarships and sponsorships to support outstanding candidates.


Defence Sixth Form College (Welbeck)

We can offer a high standard of A-level education at the Defence Sixth Form College, our residential centre near Loughborough for potential officers studying technical and scientific subjects. You could be eligible to attend if you are:

  • aiming to join the RAF as an Engineer or Logistics Officer
  • aged between 15 years and 17 years 6 months on 1 September of your Year 12.

In return, we expect you to:

  • participate fully in appropriate activities at the Defence Sixth Form College; and
  • join the RAF once you’ve finished college and university.

For your university studies, we’d hope to award you a place on the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme (DTUS), providing you gain satisfactory A-level results. 

To apply to the Defence Sixth Form College, we recommend that you visit your local Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO)/Senior Careers Liaison Officer before the end of September of your Year 11. The latest date for applications is the following 28 March. We’ll ask your head teacher to write a report on your academic progress at school to help us decide whether to shortlist you. Selection interviews take place at the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire in June or July, lasting three days.

You can find out about the Welbeck Defence Sixth Form opportunities here.

Students and Undergrads

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be an Officer in the RAF, you could receive sponsorship through university. Competition is tough, so you’ll need to show a real commitment to your studies and a potential future in the RAF.

Medical Sponsorship

If you’re studying at or applying for medical school, we could sponsor your medical training. As part of this sponsorship you could receive a Bursary or a Cadetship leading to a career as a Royal Air Force Medical Officer. The Cadetship attracts additional benefits including a grant to cover tuition fees. More details can be found on this document.

Engineering Sponsorship

The RAF offers a range of engineering sponsorships to support engineering education for those interested in becoming Engineer Officers in the RAF. The Defence Technical Officer and Engineer Scheme provides education support to students interested in a full-time career as an Engineer Officer or a Logistics Officer. The scheme promotes personal development and leadership, providing sixth form college or university academic support alongside adventurous training and sports. In addition students may receive a generous bursary during their time at University.

Get in touch or contact a RAF Senior Careers Engagement Officer via the careers staff at your school or college for details about this opportunity.

Information about the DTUS or UAS Bursary Scheme can be found here.

University Air Squadron Bursary Scheme

The RAF holds an annual national competition for Bursaries to attract high quality candidates towards a full-time career in the RAF. These Bursaries provide financial assistance towards education and developing personal qualities. They’re only available for applicants who are currently studying at university. The closing date for applications is early December. Contact us for further details and to find out if you’re eligible to apply. Full details about the University Air Squadrons, their locations and contact details can be found on their website here.


Initial & Specialist Training

All RAF personnel receive initial training that teaches them about RAF culture and equips them with the basic skills necessary for working in a military organisation.

All RAF personnel also receive specialist training so they can perform their roles effectively and with confidence. 


Quality education is one of many benefits of the RAF. All of our personnel stay at the forefront of their field through continuous learning, hands-on experience and training.

In addition to Initial Training and specialist Trade and Branch Training there are opportunities to gain further qualifications. The RAF promotes lifelong learning within all ranks and this is supported through the following schemes;

The Standard Learning Credit Scheme supplies financial support for both Regular and Reserve Personnel throughout the individuals Service career, offering 80% refund of fees up to £175 each year for multiple small-scale learning purposes.

The Enhanced Learning Credit Scheme helps Regular personnel who have completed a minimum of 6yrs service towards the cost of higher level learning, offering  80% refund of fees up to £3000 after 6yrs or up to £6000 after 8yrs. This can be used for elective learning towards a nationally recognised qualification at level 3 (‘A’ level or equivalent) or above, including degrees. The Enhanced Learning Scheme is also available for up to 5yrs after discharge.

RAF Accreditation provides opportunities to gain nationally recognised civilian qualifications through the accreditation of RAF education, training and experience. Accreditation-based qualifications may be awarded in full or in part which require additional study to complete a larger or more advanced qualification, further enhancing individual skills and knowledge.  Learning Credits may be used to support course fees.

The pace at which you can develop and gain additional skills - both personally and professionally - is limited only by your own ability level and depth of commitment. Detailed advice and guidance on learning opportunities is available to individuals from specialist staff on all RAF Stations.