RAF Apprenticeships

Whether it’s land or air that you’re interested in, RAF apprenticeships are your first port of call to discovering a range of careers in the UK’s defence sector. Read on to learn more about them.

RAF Apprenticeships

Ever studied the Supermarine Spitfire and wondered what it’d be like to fly a fighter jet? If Hawker Hurricanes and Bristol Blenheims get your blood racing, a career in the Royal Air Force could be calling your name.

As the world’s largest independent air force, the RAF has been defending our skies for over a century, operating alongside intelligence and surveillance to strengthen our national and international security.

There are tons of ways to get involved with the RAF besides piloting. You could become an air cartographer, creating and editing maps using specialist data. Or head up the police, protecting bases and aircraft from crime and espionage.

Whether it’s land or air that you’re interested in, RAF apprenticeships are your first port of call to discovering a range of careers in the UK’s defence sector. Read on to learn more about them.

Can you do an RAF apprenticeship? 

You most certainly can! There are lots of apprenticeships available in the RAF, across multiple departments too including engineering, security and resilience, cyberspace, intelligence and people operations. 

Apprenticeships are blended work / study programmes that let you train on-the-job, study towards certified qualifications. And get paid. Your schedule depends on your employer. But usually, you’ll spend four days a week at work and one day at college or a training provider.

Qualifications start at Level 2 (equivalent to 5 GCSE passes) and go all the way up to a Level 7(equivalent to a Master’s degree). To bag an apprenticeship with the RAF, you’ll need to meet the entry requirements for your particular level.

What RAF apprenticeships are available? 

If you’re 16+ and about to start your career, you’ll be on a Level 2 apprenticeship. These apprenticeships are entry level. And don’t usually require you to have any formal qualifications.

However, if you’re joining the RAF, you’ll need at least three GCSEs at grades 9 - 4 (A* - C) in english and maths. Plus a science for some roles like engineering.

Want to know what RAF apprenticeships are currently available? Check them out below.

  • Weapon Technician

  • Aircraft Technician    

  • Regiment Gunner

  • RAF Medic

  • RAF Police

  • Physical Training Instructor

  • Survival Equipment Specialist

  • Cyberspace Communication Specialist

  • Air Operations Control Officer 

  • Air Traffic and Weapons Controller

  • Air and Ground Steward 

  • Intelligence Analyst

  • Chef 

  • Firefighter

  • Vehicle and Mechanical Equipment Technician

  • Photographer 

  • Electrician

How do I apply?

You can apply for RAF apprenticeships through the RateMyApprenticeship website. All you have to do is sign up to add the company to your saved items. And voilà! You’ll get tons of updates on vacancies and all their upcoming deadlines. 

After submitting your application, you’re probably wondering what’s next. Well, if you’re successful, you’ll be invited for an interview and will need to take a bunch of aptitude, medical and fitness tests to prove your suitability for the role. So make sure you get those workouts in. 

They’ll come SUPER handy.

What do RAF apprentices do?

Working for the RAF is fun and rewarding, but equally demanding too. While your responsibilities depend on your role, as an apprentice you can expect to be doing the following tasks:

  • Keeping weapons and ammunitions safe

  • Ensuring that communication networks are open and secure

  • Providing medical support in dental or nursing roles

  • Analysing Intelligence data

  • Hiring and training new recruits

  • Working in field kitchens, planning menus and preparing meals.

Here’s what one engineering apprentice had to say about their experience with the RAF.

"“Day to day you will oversee the engineering management of equipment that is used by the UK military, providing engineering support to the Front Line Commands (RAF, Navy and Army). This involves technical decision-making to resolve in-service issues, managing the certification of the equipment via the appropriate regulator, providing up-to-date advice and equipment documentation for the operators and maintainers, and most importantly managing the safety of the equipment to ensure risk to life is as low as reasonably practicable.” " Engineering Management Apprentice, Ministry of Defence

What skills do you need to become an RAF officer?

RAF officers are one of the highest and most respected ranks in the Armed Forces. Not only are they in charge of training the military, they’re involved in search and rescue operations, commissioning new aircraft and specialising in ground combat as well.

As you can imagine, you’ll need a few skills up your sleeve to smash your role. 

These include:

  • Communication and teamwork - At the RAF, everyone works together to achieve a common goal. Communication is key to allow messaging to move from one regiment member to the next

  • Thinking and reasoning - for making quick decisions, especially during an emergency

  • Leadership - to manage and motivate teams

  • Staying calm under pressure - so you can deal with external threats, like crime, espionage and terrorism.

RAF Officers can go on to become pilot officers, flight officers or lieutenants. You can train to become an RAF Officer straight out of school. But before you do, it’s good to have some experience beforehand, like volunteering for the Air Cadets.

Each year thousands of young people under the age of 17 join the Cadets, challenging themselves and testing their resilience through activities like sailing, climbing, flying and gliding. One of those could be you!

Want to know what a week in the life of an RAF recruit is like? Watch this video.

Where are RAF apprenticeships based?

When you become an RAF recruit, you’ll spend ten whole weeks training at their base in Aylesbury, where you’ll learn everything from kit maintenance to firefighting and first aid.

Training sessions are long, running from approximately 5:30am to 10:00pm each day. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s the RAF after all. And the whole point of an apprenticeship is to prepare you physically and mentally for military life.

Once you’ve finished your initial training, you’ll be sent to a specialised RAF unit to develop your professional skills. As well as being tested for dyslexia, you’ll also need to pass a Level 2 exam in Maths and English.

How much do RAF apprenticeships pay? 

Working for the RAF isn’t your average job. The work you do will have a huge impact on the UK’s defence and security, ensuring residents and citizens are fully protected. That’s quite an undertaking and a responsibility too!

No wonder you’ll get a juicy wage to go with it. As an RAF apprentice, you’ll begin on a 

£15,000 salary which will shoot up to £18,000 during your first full year in service.

The more experience you have, the more you’ll earn. But get this. You could be earning an incredible £39,000 a year in an entry-level role. That’s awesome. Not just awesome. Bloomin’ brilliant that is!


Did you know that as an apprentice, you’ll get the same benefits as other employees when it comes to holiday pay, sick pay and pension schemes? That’s right. There are loads of perks to RAF apprenticeships. And we’re only scratching the surface.


Living costs are vital when choosing your apprenticeship. Especially if the apprenticeship involves moving to another city like London where you could easily be splashing out £1,000 a month on rent.

As an officer in the RAF, you can rent a two - bedroom furnished property for £114 - £453 per month. Bills included. Or £75 - £242 for other ranks. It’s a whole new level of freedom and leaves you with lots of disposable income to enjoy on weekends and during the holidays. 


Once you join the RAF, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in lots of different sporting activities to strengthen your military skills. There are hundreds to choose from, both at home and abroad. These include:

  • Scuba diving in the Red Sea

  • Climbing in the Himalayas

  • Kayaking in Canadian rivers

What’s more, you won't have to pay a single penny towards them. In fact, you’ll get paid. Entry fees, travel and equipment costs will be covered too. All you have to do is show up and put in the work. The rest will take care of itself.


Food is a big part of RAF life. And rightly so. With all that running around, you’ll need a good supply of fuel to keep those energy levels up. Catering is subsidised. And for £38 a week, you’ll have delicious three course meals each day that are suited to all dietary needs.


Health is the answer to everything. And at the RAF, you’ll have access to free, private healthcare. Whether you’re sick, have a toothache or get injured in action, specialists will be around to support you every step of the way.

So - what do you think? Ready to start your training with the RAF, develop skills and create lasting friendships? Sign up for an apprenticeship. And see for yourself!

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