Royal Air Force

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A Royal Air Force Survival Equipment Specialists fits and repairs the equipment that saves our personnel’s lives. They specialise in either Survival Equipment – fitted to aircraft – or individual Aircrew Equipment.

Typical Responsibilities:

  • Test and repair cutting edge night vision devices and emergency pilot locator systems
  • Maintain anti-G force protective equipment like flying helmets for aircrew
  • Repair emergency-escape parachutes and survival packs

We offer an apprenticeship with an almost guaranteed job at the end (99.8%).  Throughout the apprenticeship and beyond, there are opportunities for adventurous training, sport and an excellent benefits package.  As a training provider we are rated as Ofsted Outstanding. Our apprentices earn over twice the minimum apprenticeship wage with annual incremental rises (performance related).  Pay during training is £15K, £18.5K after with the potential to earn £48K at career end.

We also offer free medical and dental support, subsidised accommodation and catering coupled with 6 weeks paid holiday a year plus public holidays and much much more.  Search for "RAF Recruitment Benefits" for more info.

The RAF Survival Equipment Specialist is not just an apprenticeship; we take applications up to the age of 30 for those who want a change in job into a challenging and rewarding role.

Qualifications you need;

GCSEs at Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17) or above in English Language and Mathematics or SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/Scottish National 5 or above in English and Mathematics.

Joining age;


Those 15 years and 9 months can apply based on expected results with an earliest entry of 16 years of age.

Other entry requirements;

You must be a UK citizen or holder of dual UK/other nationality

Whether or not you were born in the UK, you should have resided there for 5 years immediately preceding your application


Survival Equipment Specialists will be enrolled on an Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture. This will take place at the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering Cosford, near Wolverhampton, which lasts 35 weeks. The course will provide you with the underpinning knowledge of Survival Equipment used in a military environment. You will learn the principles of engineering and maintenance of parachutes, life rafts, aircrew equipment assemblies including night vision and oxygen systems. You will also be taught the basic skills of mechanical and electrical engineering to underpin your trade knowledge.

On completion of specialist training you will have gained a Level 3 Tech Cert Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering (Survival Equipment Maintenance), during workplace activity a Level 3 Diploma in Aerospace and Aviation (Development Competence). As new equipment and aircraft come into service, the aim is to accredit the specialist training requirements to ensure that our tradesmen hold civilian recognised qualifications as part of your career development.  After an end point assesment when delivering in the role you will have completed the Level 3 Survival Equipment Fitter Apprenticeship.

Ongoing Training/Development Opportunities

Throughout your career, we will continue to train you and provide you with through Service career development. There are also opportunities to undertake management and leadership training required for promotion and to join the relevant civilian professional associations and bodies. Furthermore, you will be able to employ your new found military and leadership skills on various adventure training expeditions and exercises across the world.

There are also opportunities to work within the Airborne Forces environment, providing parachute equipment and parachute delivery systems to assist our Special Forces in their specialised training; this could involve working on an active parachute drop zone both in the UK or deployed overseas. You may become a part of a specialist pool or sea-drill team, providing instruction and assistance to aircrew practicing their survival drills at a specialist pool or out at sea.
You could also undertake the role of an instructor, training either new recruits during basic trade training or providing specialist training to aircrew or other Survival Equipment tradesmen.

For more information about the role and details of our application process, visit the RAF Recruitment website. To be directed straight to our site Click 'Apply Now'.

Application closed

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