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 a specialist training course at RAF St Athan, near Cardiff, which lasts approximately 14 months. You will be enrolled on an Advanced Apprenticeship and a team of RAF and civilian instructors will teach you mechanical engineering principles. You will then put the theory into practice when learning how to service and repair airfield support vehicles and equipment. On successful completion of this training course, you’ll be awarded a City & Guilds Level 3 Progression Award in Mechanical Engineering and you’ll get your first posting. Your specialist training, along with experience you gain on the job, will lead to the award of an NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Engineering – Maintenance, Installation and Commissioning and your Advanced Apprenticeship could be completed within three years of joining the RAF.
Additional Qualification Opportunities
Following the completion of the NVQ Level 3 in General Engineering Maintenance, Some recruits will be enrolled onto this C&G Level 3 Certificate in Heavy Vehicle Maintenance and Repair mechanical vehicle based qualification depending on the Service need. This process of completion is through Recognised Prior Learning and the completion of a workplace portfolio of evidence.
Ongoing Training/Development Opportunities
As your career progresses, we will continue to train you in new skills and you will develop fault diagnosis techniques. You may be posted to a specialist area of employment, such as Air Defence Radar, Tactical Communications, Tactical Supply, or the Expeditionary Airfield Squadron where you’ll build temporary engineering accommodation both in the UK and abroad. You could also have opportunities for management and leadership training. The qualifications and experience you will gain in your RAF career can be used to meet the joining criteria for relevant civilian professional associations.
Your First Tour
For your first tour, you will be posted to an RAF station where you will work on all the airfield support equipment and specialist vehicles in the RAF inventory. You will use and further develop the skills you learnt during training as you carry out inspections and servicing; and you’ll also help experienced technicians carry out more complex tasks, such as engine changes and hydraulic system repairs. You will have a key role in supporting the station’s mission and you will form part of a professional team.
Your Future Career Prospects and Progression
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, you will be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman, providing you pass a Trade Ability Test and Basic Trade Training. Further promotion to the rank of Corporal and beyond is by competitive selection. As you gain experience and complete your NVQ Level 3, you will achieve Technician status. As you advance through the ranks, you will have the increased opportunity to lead and direct people, managing resources and manpower within your area of work to deliver the required outputs whilst maintaining and instilling the highest standards expected within the RAF.
The qualifications, experience and skill-sets that you develop as a specialist Mechanical Technician are recognised and are as highly regarded in civilian industry as they are in the RAF, which means that should you ever decide to pursue a career outside the RAF, you will be well placed to find employment.