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.
If you are joining with no qualifications as a Pharmacy Technician, your training will commence with a short Induction visit to the Department of Pharmacy and Medical Supply (DPMS) at Defence College of Healthcare Education and Training (DCHET) at Defence medical Service (Whittington) near Birmingham. You will then be detached to a NHS hospital pharmacy department to undergo a two-year course leading to the award of Diploma level 3 in Pharmacy Service Skills (competence). In addition you will undertake day release to a College where you will undergo a Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science (knowledge).
On successful completion of both courses you will return to DCHET for a Professional Topics and Defence Medical Information Capability Programme (DMICP – the computer system used in RAF Medical Centres) course and a medical supplies course, which involves both practical and written assessments: followed by a six-week placement at Headquarters Tactical Medical Wing. Finally you will complete a placement at a RAF Medical centre for a three-month period under the supervision of Senior Pharmacy Technician; you will then be given your first assignment. You will then be required to complete a First Aid course at DCHET within 12 months.
If you are joining as a General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) Registered Pharmacy technician, you will complete the First Aid course, the Professional Topics, DMICP and the Medical Supplies course. You will also undertake the placements; after which you will receive your first assignment.
Your First Tour
After training your first tour will be to a unit where you can consolidate your initial training and broaden your specialist knowledge. This is usually at a RAF managed Defence Primary Healthcare Medical Centre.
You will initially join the RAF for a period of twelve years on a Notice Engagement with effect from 1 April 2015. After completing one year’s total service and graduating from your training course you will be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman Technician. Those already qualified will be promoted to Senior Aircraft Technician backdated to their second day in service. Further promotion to the rank of corporal and sergeant is on a time promotion basis.
The qualifications you can earn are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF. Your CPD will keep you abreast of change and up to date with your civilian counterparts – this means that whenever you decide to leave the RAF, you will be well placed to find employment in pharmacy.