27 January 2016 | Careers Advice | thomas thomas
“Wings, check, hydraulics, check, canopy accumulator pressure, check.’ As another Tornado hurtles safely down the runway for take-off, Flight Lieutenant Jane Robinson is left to contemplate how fast life has moved since the days of fluid dynamic lectures at university.
“I was 26 at the time,” recalls Jane of her time as a Junior Engineer Officer with the Tornado Squadron. “I was leading over 40 engineering technicians, ensuring that the Tornados were safe to fly. To have that responsibility was very exciting and I don’t think you’ll find that anywhere else.”
The Royal Air Force offers opportunities few civilian careers can match, with world-wide travel as standard, along with opportunities to learn while you earn, and a highly competitive package of benefits. There are over 50 challenging roles available, from ICT to catering, and air traffic control to logistics.
To make it as an RAF Engineer Officer, you must be someone who is confident at calling the shots. In return, officers can expect a starting salary of around £30,000, based on their role and qualifications. Their careers begins with Initial Officer Training at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire where they follow a challenging 30-week syllabus to develop leadership and management skills.
The course includes fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges. After initial training, officers move on to specialist training, often at a different RAF base according to the specialism they choose. For many, the lifestyle is a huge draw, as sports and adventurous training are actively encouraged, including regular climbing or sailing expeditions.