Joining the RAF entitles you to an annual allowance towards new qualifications. You’ll also be able to claim up to 80% back on a huge range of course fees from vocational training through to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
Depending on your role you may also complete an apprenticeship, get a driver’s licence, or earn recognised qualifications for free.
SPONSORSHIPS & SCHOLARSHIPS
For those who demonstrate potential to make a real contribution to the RAF, our financial support could start early through competitive sponsorships and scholarships that help you achieve your education goals before entering the RAF. Visit our Education and Funding page to learn more.
ROOM & BOARD
Rent for those living in single barrack accommodation, also known as a Mess, includes all utility bills. A furnished two-bedroom property for an officer is between £114 and £453 per month, and between £75 and £242 per month for other ranks. Alternative accommodation on and off base is also available at lower rental costs than the UK average. Together with subsidised on-base catering (around £28 per week for three good quality meals a day), this helps increase your disposable income.
RAF personnel are entitled to six weeks of paid holiday each year, plus public holidays.
As a member of the RAF you’ll have the opportunity to take part in adventurous training to develop vital military skills. This means you could be mountain climbing in France or swimming with sharks in South Africa and be getting paid while you’re doing it.
You’ll also have the opportunity to join one of the RAF’s many sports clubs and even go all the way to the Olympics. We sponsor talented personnel to compete at the highest level, provide time off for training and subsidise travel, entry fees and equipment costs. We do the same for personnel who are competing or representing the RAF in authorised sporting events. Visit our Sport & Fitness page to learn more.
Every base has free sports facilities, normally including a gym and regular fitness classes. The RAF’s physical training instructors are also available to offer training advice and tips for staying fit.
RAF personnel have excellent private healthcare and dental care. Not only is this a free service, but it’s readily available at a moment’s notice. Specialists are always around to provide the care and treatment you need. Whether you’re feeling unwell, have a toothache, or get injured playing sports, our high standard care ensures you get well quickly.
The RAF maintains an active overseas presence, with bases in Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar and Ascension Island. If you’re posted abroad, the RAF will cover your relocation costs. On operation, we’ll also cover your accommodation costs, food costs and you may also qualify for additional allowance.
All members of the RAF and their partners are entitled to a range of discounts through Defence Discount Service. You will also be able to buy an HMF Railcard for £15 a year and get up to a third off standard rail fares across the country.
RAF personnel who have served for nine and a half years and not given notice to leave may earn a bonus of £5,500. Those who spend between 12 and 18 years are awarded a grant up to three times their annual pension to assist with settling back into civilian life.
The RAF is committed to helping its personnel with retirement. The size of your pension will depend on your length of service and rank on retirement. Visit our Pension Calculator to find out how much you could be entitled to.
MATERNITY AND PATERNITY
Servicewomen have two basic maternity options in the RAF: return to work after a period of maternity leave or leave the RAF due to the pregnancy. Generally, servicewomen qualify for up to 26 weeks of statutory maternity pay. They may also qualify for additional maternity entitlements.
Servicemen are also entitled to a two week paternity leave.
SPARE TIME RESERVE
All Reserves gain access to superb sports facilities, receive assistance with travel costs, obtain a range of discounts through Defence Discount Service, earn one day of paid holiday for every 10 days worked, and qualify for an annual tax-free lump sum ‘bounty’ after completing minimum training requirements. This bounty ranges from £440 in the first year to £1,742 after five years’ service.
As a Reserve you will also get paid a daily rate during training and for the days you work. These daily rates, which you can preview below, are determined by your designated rank, trade or branch, and level of experience.
If you're an ex-regular member of any of the UK armed forces then you may also be eligible for a £10,000 bonus of you join the RAF Reserves. To be eligible you have to meet the following criteria:
- Within five years of leaving Regular Service and before your 56th birthday, be enlisted into the part-time volunteer component of the RAF Reserves in a Bounty earning engagement.
- Have previously served in any of the UK Regular forces for at least four years and have held the rank of Flt Lt to Wg Cdr or LAC to WO
- Have joined the RAF Reserves after 1 April '14
- Have not previously left the RAF Reserves while this scheme is open
For more details you should contact your local RAF Reserves Sqn who can give you more information.
DAILY RATES OF PAY FOR AIRMEN/AIRWOMEN
|Leading / Senior Aircraftman or Airwoman||£45.96 - £74.33|
|Corporal||£74.87 - £87.94|
|Sergeant||£83.25 - £103.01|
|Flight Sergeant||£93.71 - £119.06|
|Warrant Officer||£118.05 - £125.99|
DAILY RATES OF PAY FOR OFFICERS
|Pilot/Flying Officer||£64.59 - £85.82|
|Flight Lieutenant||£99.50 - £118.32|
|Squadron Leader||£125.33 - £150.10|
Those called up for duty receive extra pay and allowances. Additionally, different pay scales may apply to certain officers, graduates or those with professional qualifications. Give us a call to learn more and see if these apply to you.