RAF Careers

How to become RAF

What does a RAF do?

Airmen and airwomen work in a wide range of jobs within the Royal Air Force.

Airmen and women provide specialist skills in more than 40 different trades ranging from aircraft servicing through to office work, medical support and security. The duties carried out vary according to the specialist skill or trade. They also have military duties like guarding the stations and taking part in military exercises and training.

Contact local Armed Forces Careers Offices (AFCO) for more details. The RAF careers website has a full list of the trades available (see Further Information).

The trades are usually hands-on, practical support roles.

What's the working environment like working as a RAF?

Airman/women could be posted to RAF bases in the UK or overseas. They could also go on detachments and exercises anywhere in the world.

Although they work normal office hours over a five-day week, airmen/women are on call at all times. If on exercises or involved in operations, hours could be long and irregular. When on detachment, they might be away from their families for several months.

What does it take to become a RAF?

To be an airman or airwoman you should:

  • be able to work as part of a team
  • be able to follow orders and use your initiative to make decisions
  • stay calm under pressure
  • be able to organise work and pay attention to detail
  • be interested in specialising in one of the trades
  • be physically fit.

RAF Career Opportunities

There are more than 40,000 non-commissioned personnel in the RAF. The number of vacancies varies depending on the particular trade.

You are promoted to leading aircraftman/aircraftwoman when you complete your basic training, and to senior aircraftmen/aircraftwomen, normally after one year’s service.Promotion above the rank of senior aircraftman/aircraftwoman is by competitive selection based on merit.

Airmen/airwomen who satisfy the various conditions of eligibility can apply at any time to become commissioned officers (see Royal Air Force Officer profile).

Further information

If you would like to know anything about RAF that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Free leaflets and advice are available from all armed forces careers offices (AFCOs). You can find the address of your nearest office in the telephone directory (under Royal Air Force).

RAF Careers
Tel: 0845 605 5555

Facts and Stats:

  • The Ministry of Defence is British Industry''s largest single customer
  • Every year, civil servants are responsible for public spending of around £300bn
  • If every MP turned up at the chambers of the House of Commons at the same time, there would not be enough seats for them all to sit down

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