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.
The next step is the Specialist Training Course at the Personnel Administration Training Wing at the home of the RAF Personnel Branch at Worthy Down in Hampshire, which lasts for 13 weeks. During the course you will learn about HR and personnel administration in the UK Armed Forces in general and the RAF in particular. By the end of the course you will achieve an Apprenticeship in Business and Administration, which includes NVQ level 2 in Business and Administration. Additionally, you can expand your studies to achieve a Foundation Degree in Human Resource Practice with Staffordshire University, gaining a level 4 on completion, with a further opportunity to increase to Level 5. At the end of the course you will be assigned to your first tour. You will graduate from your Specialist Training in the rank of Leading Aircraftman/woman.
Ongoing Training/Development Opportunities
As your career progresses there will be opportunities to undertake further professional training, including management and leadership courses, some of which can lead to various forms of accreditation with external professional bodies. There are also opportunities to study at higher education and gain a degree and accreditation with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Your First Tour
As a newly graduated HR Administrator you will normally work in the HR (Personnel) Office on an RAF Unit which may have an operational, training or headquarters role. Having trained at Worthy Down alongside the other Services, you may be assigned to work with Army and Royal Navy HR Specialists in Joint Service Units or in RAF Squadrons and Wings that have a tri-Service operational role. Day to day, you will interact with military personnel of all ranks in an office setting or by e-mail and telephone to provide a professional human resources service. You will know how to interpret and apply regulations set out in Defence policy and business process publications and how to administer personnel records on the Armed Forces personnel IT system (known as JPA) using ORACLE software. You will manage information to make changes in JPA affecting pay, allowances and absence as well as processing performance appraisals and documentation relating to promotion and contract terms and conditions of Service for all personnel. You will also be responsible for getting people ready for re-assignment to a new location or deploying temporarily to operations, courses and training exercises in UK and overseas. You will understand the administrative processes that must be carried out in the event of casualties and will assist RAF personnel transition smoothly back to civilian life at the end of their service.
Your Future Career Prospects/Progression
You will join the RAF initially for a period of twelve years on a Notice Engagement. After completing one year’s total service from the date you joined the RAF, you will be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman/woman, providing that you have passed your Specialist Trade Training and the Trade Ability Test in your first Unit. As you gain knowledge and experience, you will be ready to apply your professional HR and broader military leadership and management skills to compete on merit with your peers for promotion. Progression to higher rank will bring greater responsibility for resources, manpower and leadership of your own team of HR Specialists. You will be encouraged and supported continually to challenge yourself by progressing to specialised roles such as HR Trainer providing training to the next generation of HR Specialists or as an RAF Career Manager where you will be responsible for advising on and managing the career progression of RAF personnel in other Trades.
The qualifications you can earn and experience you will gain are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF, which means that whenever you decide to leave the RAF, you will be well placed to find a job in a number of fields. As you move up through the ranks you will gain a great deal of management and leadership experience which you will have the opportunity to develop into related civilian qualifications. The RAF will give you the confidence to succeed in whatever you choose to do.