Career Options

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Your role as a pilot in the RAF is as varied as the aircraft you can fly. Once you’ve completed initial training, you’ll be selected to fly jets, larger multi-engine aircraft or helicopters. As the pilot of a Eurofighter Typhoon, your primary role will be air-to-air combat or ground attack. In a Hercules transport aircraft, you could be sent anywhere in the world on military support or humanitarian aid missions. In a helicopter your duties might include anything from search and rescue flights to ferrying troops and equipment into combat zones.

After your initial training, you’ll then receive further training on the aircraft type you’ve been assigned to, then start getting to grips with using that aircraft in your day-to-day job. We may be able to invest in your future by funding your studies until you’re ready to start training as a Pilot. You can apply to join the RAF as a pilot directly from sixth form. We provide i?? 2,000 sponsorship during your Upper Sixth year and after you’ve joined, you can then study for an Open University degree and work for us at the same time.

Alternatively, you can apply for a Sixth Form Scholarship of i?? 1,000, followed by a University Bursary of i?? 1,000 a year if you study for a degree you’ve agreed with us. In return, we ask you to become a member of the University Air Squadron (UAS) (or Air Training Corps while you’re at school) and to join the RAF once you finish your studies. As well as financial support, UAS is an opportunity to get first-hand experience of working with our people, technology and aircraft – and we’ll also give you free flying lessons.

‘My job at the moment is working as one of the Squadron pilots bringing the Typhoon into active service. To begin with, it will be involved in quick reaction alert, which means intercepting unknown aircraft in British airspace. ‘Then, in the near future, it’s going to be a multi-role aircraft and will be deployable in both the air-to-air and air-to-ground roles. As a Typhoon pilot, I’ll be sent wherever the aircraft is deployed. ‘ My day ‘When we arrive at work, we’ll get together for a met brief and find out about the day’s weather, aircraft serviceability and the flying programme.

Then we get into the planning cycle which takes place two to three hours before take off. ‘Every aircraft has a “brick” that contains data for each mission. We load this during our planning, get a map and take a brief from the formation leader on the day’s tactics. We also brief the Fighter Controllers and any other formations we’re working with that day. ‘We get an out-brief before we fly, just in case there have been any changes with the weather, the aircraft or the airfield, and then we get changed.

This takes about 10 minutes in winter because you’ve got an immersion suit, thermal layers, a g-suit and flight jacket. ‘Most sorties last for about an hour and a half, depending on what we’re doing. Once we land we have a debrief – usually playing tapes to show what happened in the cockpit. ‘Once that’s done, you have to deal with your secondary duties and any admin, and then hopefully head to the gym. It’s quite physically demanding to fly the aircraft so it’s good to get down to the gym as often as you can. ‘ My experiences

‘I became a qualified ski instructor after joining the Air Force. I found myself in between flying courses a couple of times and when this happened in the winter, I was able to take people away on adventurous training. I still do that sometimes, but much more infrequently now that I’m on the front line. ‘ My life ‘I know friends and family who’ve struggled to find out what it is they want to do in life, but for me, the fact that the RAF combines the outdoor life with plenty of challenges in the workplace makes it the best of both worlds. ‘

Dog handlers are employed by police forces, HM Revenue and Customs, fire and rescue services, the Armed Forces, prison services, industrial and commercial companies and private security companies. Many handlers in private security are self-employed and are hired by security companies. Some organisations, like police forces, HM Revenue and Customs, fire and rescue services and prison services, only select their dog handlers from people already working for them. Academic qualifications are not required to become a dog handler in private security.

The Armed Forces do not specify any qualifications, but most applicants have GCSEs/S grades including English and maths. Training varies between different organisations, but it usually lasts several weeks. Handlers in private security may train in a range of security work. Promotion is possible in the police, the Armed Forces, HM Revenue and Customs, fire and rescue services and prison services. Dog handlers in private security may become supervisors or managers.

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