Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    First of all, I would like to thank the main contributers to this forum (you know who you are). I've learned a lot from the years spent reading this forum, and always end up resorting to this forum for advice because its' repliers are honest and I respect that.

    Situation

    I have recently taken the decision to withdraw from University after my first year. Reason being I do not wish to spend 4/5 years in education learning about interesting topics that I will not use, or be useful in the career I will persue. This career being an officer and pilot in the armed forces. This also means I will need to withdraw from the UAS.

    I have previously attended and passed OASC applying for 6th form scholarship for pilot (although later not selected). I can remember from the final review identifying key areas that I could develop. I can remember this being confidence in group discussion, interview preperation, understanding of an officer and "life" experience (as the board officer put it). I done well in all areas other than some aspects of the interview and group discussion/planning. More could be done fitness wise.

    I felt that I could not and did not develop these areas during my time in university, and felt there was much more oppertunity out in "the real world" of work. I am therefore persueing apprenticeships, specifically one for a British Airways mechanic (3 years). This means I will have a good back up career + work experience, more importantly my tutor/manager will be an excellent referee (Apprenticeships have many benefits I will not discuss any futher). I have the view that more things will be learned in the workplace, more life experience, than in University. I think working with other people improves personal development rather than sitting in lectures.

    My plan during this 3 year apprenticeship (if not selected, a job will do) is to take advantage of the training and any oppertunities that appear such as projects. At the same time I will do the usual business (RAF knowledge, current affairs, try organise work exp., fitness) until I feel suitably prepared for a career in the RAF, not just OASC. I may also apply to be an instuctor in my old Air Cadet sqn. I will also pay attention to the defence review, another reason I feel it is wise to start training now for a trade.

    Main Questions

    Will the RAF accept my justification for leaving university? Academically I meet the criteria and have a good previous aptitude score (trainable mind?). Would they question my committment for leaving the UAS even if I go back into cadets as an Civi Instuctor? What would you be thinking about me based on my attitude portrayed in this post?

    Sub-question

    Do you think reading books is a worthwhile and wise hobby to start, considering I aspire to be a military officer?

    If so, which genre, military history?

    I read some books in school that were compulsory. Never thought about it until recently.

    P.s. How many thought I was going to SMEAC you with that first sub-heading? :rolleyes:
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    They would question you, but as you've shown, you've thought about and got good answers and solutions for how you're going to rectify whatever shortcomings you may have exposed. That's definitely a tick in the right box.

    Books aren't the be-all and end-all, sure, some might help, but only do it if you want to do it, you won't enjoy them or get anything out of them otherwise. The IOT suggested reading list will be around here somewhere, some of the stuff on there might be of interest.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    University offers lots of opportunities for personal development - it isn't just about sitting in lectures! I'm not sure you can argue that an apprenticeship as a mechanic is particularly relevant to a career as a pilot, either ...

    Different people do well in different environments. If you really aren't enjoying university, and you move into an apprenticeship and make a success of it, then it is obviously a decision that works for you - but I think I'd base the argument on the value of each path as a "backup plan" for your own personal plans, and your own enjoyment of the subject and environment, rather than trying to argue that university offers fewer opportunities. Remember that you'll be going up against lots of people who are graduates, and will have plenty of "life experience". Having a degree indicates a "trainable mind" - aptitude scores don't. Remember that an apprenticeship will be less academically demanding, so it might appear as though you couldn't cope with degree-level study and dropped "down". We can't say how they'll view your attitude at this stage - if you go off and do brilliantly in the apprenticeship, and get lots of other activities under your belt for three years, and build up lots of valid "life experience", then you'll come across well. If you go for the apprenticeship and do only averagely well, and don't do anything else, you won't look as good, and I'd be a bit dubious about your reasons for dropping out. If you start the apprenticeship and decide that that isn't for you either, then I'd start asking serious questions about you! If university isn't for you, that's fine - but I wouldn't try to justify it in the way you have; if it's simply a matter of personal development, there are far more opportunities for that at university than there are in the workplace. I think you're making life harder for yourself by dropping out!

    It isn't clear if you have or have not already withdrawn from university, but don't do it until you have secured a high-quality apprenticeship.

    Is reading books worthwhile? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Unless you allow reading to completely take over your life, it is always a good thing. It will introduce you to new ideas, it will increase your vocabulary and standard of English generally. Read what you enjoy. Try to read a range of books - fiction, not-fiction, history, biography. If you don't enjoy something, don't beat yourself up about it - just move on to something else. But yes - try to read regularly. Sign up with your local library, and just go and get a stack of books out and get stuck in!
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Theo1977)
    I'm not sure you can argue that an apprenticeship as a mechanic is particularly relevant to a career as a pilot, either ...
    Your joking right?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by joey!)
    Your joking right?
    Nope.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Theo1977)
    Nope.
    How is an apprenticeship as a mechanic not relevant for a career as a pilot? My cousin was a mechanic and is now a helicopter pilot with the navy. It is one of the most relevant previous professions you can have.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I disagree.

    I'm not saying you CANNOT be a pilot after you've been a mechanic, I'm saying I wouldn't have mechanic at the top of the list of possible options that might help you to prepare for a career as a pilot.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Theo1977)
    I disagree.

    I'm not saying you CANNOT be a pilot after you've been a mechanic, I'm saying I wouldn't have mechanic at the top of the list of possible options that might help you to prepare for a career as a pilot.
    It actually is one of the most wanted previous skills you can have. Previous military service, law enforcement experience, mechanical/engineering experience are all generally what are wanted for military positions. If you're going to be a pilot, the mechanical/engineering experience is one of the most valuable assets you can have.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by joey!)
    It actually is one of the most wanted previous skills you can have. Previous military service, law enforcement experience, mechanical/engineering experience are all generally what are wanted for military positions. If you're going to be a pilot, the mechanical/engineering experience is one of the most valuable assets you can have.
    They'd vastly prefer a prospective pilot to have an Aero Eng degree [knowledge of what goes on, but no alternate, possibly confusing hands on experience, and, crucially, the exposure to people their own age, uni experiences and the extra curriculars] than quals in civvy airline mechanics.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Drewski)
    They'd vastly prefer a prospective pilot to have an Aero Eng degree [knowledge of what goes on, but no alternate, possibly confusing hands on experience, and, crucially, the exposure to people their own age, uni experiences and the extra curriculars] than quals in civvy airline mechanics.
    Yeah, I was just talking generally e.g. qualifications related to mechanics/engineering
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Oh my Lord.

    What exactly do you think pilots do? Do you have some kind of image of them landing after a sortie and rolling their sleeves up to check over the aircraft or something?

    I disagree with your list of other desirable backgrounds as well. They might be relevant for some roles (like engineer, military police etc), but not relevant for most (air traffic control, navigator, pilot, ABM, logistics, admin roles, medic, etc etc etc). The military is far more interested in aptitudes and abilities than job history.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by joey!)
    Yeah, I was just talking generally e.g. qualifications related to mechanics/engineering
    Exactly, which is why spending 3 years getting an apprenticeship into airline mechanics is a waste and unnecessary.
    • Community Assistant
    • CV Helper
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    Community Assistant
    CV Helper
    If the best route to having a long and successful career as a pilot in the RAF was from an apprenticeship, then the RAF would recommend and actively support this as an entry route.

    If the best route to having a long and successful career as a pilot in the RAF was from mechanical engineering training, then the RAF would recommend and actively support this as an entry route.

    The RAF accepts entry from people with nothing more than 2 A levels and 5 GCSEs

    The RAF actively supports entry from people with degrees (about 7/10 places)

    I doubt in the normal competition for pilot places at IOT, ditching university and a UAS place will ever make an candidate competitive, no matter what aptitude scores. In the current climate it would be wise to consider it a near terminal career decision.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Great replies and thanks.

    With regards to Theo1977, your first and main point is my great flopping point guaranteed if I cannot answer it.

    I think dedicating 4 years to have a BEng will definetly show committment and academic competence.

    My arguement is this. I do not want to spend such a long time gaining knowledge in a subject I will not use in my career, and do not wish to persue such a career (as an engineer, bear with me).

    Engineers are the creators behind the systems that mechanics operate. Different jobs.

    The subject area (aeronautics) is fascinating and intersting to me. I would like to work in the industry as a mechanic, a suited back-up.

    The reason I say Apprenticeship over Degree is this. An apprenticeship would involve a 1 year HNC, then straight to the airport to start training and working for 2 years. It would mean while I continue to personally develop (to my highest readiness level to be a RAF Officer), indeed I would have an easier course, but it means I would have more time to take part in personal development (PD) activities such rejoining my atc sqn (what do you think of this and any more suggestions, im pushing you now! Anyone else reading this please do help too). I also think having the experience in the workplace, with this HNC on top of my current highers will look great at OASC. I would like to show that I can think logically about my needs (PD on issues detailed in my final review at my last visit to OASC) and the free time I would have from studying a less demanding course would mean I can use that time to concentrate on development, not more academic results.

    Surely having good experience in a professional enviroment, having a boss that knows me and can give a cracking reference, saving up cash (guarenteed pay for 3 years) to perhaps explore different cultures and countries during breaks, would be of much more benefit to me than spending 4 years with my head mostly in a book, paying money to be a student and making it more difficult for myself? I don't think I could possibly study hard, and still have time to read books and go to the gym all the time, balance the UAS stuff, enrole in discussion groups (verbal communication is a weak point. I can't find words to describe what Im talking about at times, but can when writing, and that happens quite often which results in me getting confused and people not being interested in what I have to say).

    I find myself trying to prove I can be an officer, more than a pilot. Reason being I found areas which show officer potential the hardest in OASC and think I should concentrate most on that.


    I have left university, I withdrew last week. I have written to SAAS (course funding) and the UAS explaing my intentions. No reply back yet.

    What I can do, if not to be selected for an apprenticeship, is take a "gap year". I'd apply to any job, and consider reapplying by January on UCAS for university. I would like to hear what you once again think of my plan, after reading this post, and mabye why university would be better because Im finding it hard to find an answer to that. If I were to apply to university again however, it would definitely be a political course or a course with a broader knowledge base. It would seem more useful than an aeronautical degree.

    It's motivation I need to do a degree, and based on the job I want to do, which does not need a degree, Im finding it hard to justify to myself why I should spend such a long time studying so hard.


    Time management is the main factor, between now, and me applying when I feel ready to compete which I think may take another year or 2.
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    I'm in the Army, so my thoughts are not directly relevant. However, I have been involved in the officer recruitment process. Sure some of the other posters here will give you a good air steer.

    Leaving university after a year would worry me – it might suggest an inability to stick it out, poor decision-making, lack of motivation etc etc. You need to be really clear about why you want to leave, bearing in mind that most officers in all three services are graduates and academic aptitude is an important trait.

    University life would have provided you with all the things your board officer highlighted, as long as you threw yourself into it. Personally, I am not sure an apprenticeship is comparable, but an RAF officer may think differently. I wouldn't knock lectures too much – if officer training in the RAF is similar to the Army, you will be subjected to death by PowerPoint for a year....

    That said, if you do well in your civilian job you will certainly develop as a person, and experience of working is valued - but not more than a degree.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    I doubt in the normal competition for pilot places at IOT, ditching university and a UAS place will ever make an candidate competitive, no matter what aptitude scores. In the current climate it would be wise to consider it a near terminal career decision.
    Not impossible though. I know of someone who went through OASC at the same time as me [Jan09] who was in this exact situation - except going Int - and got in.

    Yes, that was a time when more people were being recruited, but Int is and always has been a massively competitive branch.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    0907714 - I understand what you're saying, but having been to university (admittedly on a less demanding course, time-wise) I disagree with the basis for most of your arguments - sorry!

    First and foremost, university life is geared up for personal development. At university, you can get involved in student politics or journalism, or team sports, or clubs and societies, very very easily. These all offer lots of opportunities to get involved in running activities, management, leadership, etc. It is MUCH harder to find the same opportunities outside university, and even harder to get involved in the management side of things, especially in only three years.

    Secondly, most university courses are designed to allow for such personal development - for example, Wednesday afternoons always used to be kept free for sports at a lot of universities. Now, I think this is dying out, but you'll still find that - with good time management - it is perfectly possibly to get involved to a significant level with a number of different things. Most university activities tend to be easy to access - activities outside university might be further away, or run at odd times, which makes it more difficult to manage.

    Travel - honestly, four weeks holiday a year (which I'm guessing is what you'll get as an apprentice) is NOT enough to do the kind of travel that "counts". By the time you lop off odd days for various things (weddings, long weekends, etc etc - and it does happen) you'll be pushed to go away for more than a fortnight at a time, even if your work lets you take off more than that in one block. University holidays are much better suited to travel.

    Experience in the workplace - if you can add it ON TOP OF everything else, then great. However, swapping university experience and degree level education for work experience is not gaining anything.

    Verbal communication - reading will help with this. However, university again offers more opportunities to develop (debating societies, verbal assessments and presentations as part of coursework etc) than an apprenticeship will.

    References - you can secure plenty of good references at university. If you work part time in the union, your boss can give you a reference. If you work your way on to the committee of the university football club, the president of the sports union will give you a reference. Your tutor will give you a reference. Ta-da ... three strong references instead of one!

    Being brutally honest, I think it was a wee bit hasty to withdraw from university before you had something else secured. However, it's done. Some general observations:

    I'd avoid choosing a degree on the basis of what it might lead to. Choose a subject you will enjoy for its own sake, and that you can do well in, and you'll find that careers start to come up as a result as you move through your degree. A broad-based subject like politics is always good, but make sure it is at a good university. There is nothing wrong with studying for its own sake, because you love the subject. You do not need to approach the UCAS form with the mindset that it has to equate to a specific job at the end. You'll find that the career side of things tends to work itself out if you have a good degree in a subject you enjoy.

    It is perfectly possible to balance all the activities you've listed (fitness, discussion groups, reading, etc etc) alongside a degree. Plenty of people do it, and when you start looking at pilot candidates at OASC you'll probably find that most of them have.

    Other advantages to a degree: it might not be required for pilot, but it will put you in a much stronger position. If the pilot plan doesn't work out, if gives you more options for future careers - and you aren't just limiting yourself to mechanics. You can always go into mechanics later, but it might be much more difficult to do it the other way around.

    If you really want to be a mechanic if it doesn't work out as a pilot, then there's nothing wrong with pursuing that. However, check the terms of an apprenticeship carefully, to make sure you aren't tied for a certain length of time, etc (I'm guessing here!)

    In your shoes, I'd speak to my university about transferring to a different degree. I did that - I chose architecture, couldn't stand it, and switched to an arts degree at the same university. It was very, very easy to do, and it will probably be easier than trying to secure an apprenticeship or a job - even just a mundane minimum wage job - at the moment. Worth a phonecall, anyway.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    If the best route to having a long and successful career as a pilot in the RAF was from an apprenticeship, then the RAF would recommend and actively support this as an entry route.

    If the best route to having a long and successful career as a pilot in the RAF was from mechanical engineering training, then the RAF would recommend and actively support this as an entry route.

    The RAF accepts entry from people with nothing more than 2 A levels and 5 GCSEs

    The RAF actively supports entry from people with degrees (about 7/10 places)

    I doubt in the normal competition for pilot places at IOT, ditching university and a UAS place will ever make an candidate competitive, no matter what aptitude scores. In the current climate it would be wise to consider it a near terminal career decision.
    I just thnk my time could be used more effectively doing other things rather than studying all the time. That is my main reason for withdrawing and have explained it in detail already.

    Why do the RAF support university so much? What is it about university that makes it worthy of a bursary scheme? Why is it that the 6th form has its scholorship? If university was so valued surely it would make sense to advise 5th years (Scottish system) to stay onto university?

    The only real reason why I see that apprenticeships are not getting identified and given support is because apprentices get paid, a lot!

    I can't see why the RAF frown upon my decision because Im making it based on experience from the 1st year of my university course. I did not like it + other reasons, and I feel I can get a backup career in a diffierent approach. That was my main reason to go to university, a backup career. Not to prove I can handle such a course to the RAF (which many base the purpose of their degree, the majority view from fellow UAS students. The Bursars were studying for their backup career. Just an observation).

    I am indeed making a pivotal decision. I have met the requirements and just trying to get a solid backup career in place, personally develop and try again at OASC. Not spending 4 further years of my life in education.

    An understanding into why the RAF value university graduates so much may help me decide. Its not to late for me to grab the clearing list when it comes out and enrole in another university course, or apply for next year after looking at yet another backup career.


    Note: I have not yet informed my UAS of my intentions whether I am carrying on with higher education. Ill amend my first post.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by 0907714)
    An understanding into why the RAF value university graduates so much may help me decide.
    A university degree shows that you have the academic ability to study at a high level. It also shows that you have the ability to self-motivate for a long period of time. As most study is self-managed, it also shows good time management skills. Quite apart from the degree itself, time at university offers lots of other opportunities for development, as outlined above.

    The first three of these will not be shown in an apprenticeship.

    In short, a degree is a good way of demonstrating you have the skills and abilities they are looking for. It can be much harder to prove them without one.
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by 0907714)
    I just thnk my time could be used more effectively doing other things rather than studying all the time. That is my main reason for withdrawing and have explained it in detail already.

    Why do the RAF support university so much? What is it about university that makes it worthy of a bursary scheme? Why is it that the 6th form has its scholorship? If university was so valued surely it would make sense to advise 5th years (Scottish system) to stay onto university?

    The only real reason why I see that apprenticeships are not getting identified and given support is because apprentices get paid, a lot!

    I can't see why the RAF frown upon my decision because Im making it based on experience from the 1st year of my university course. I did not like it + other reasons, and I feel I can get a backup career in a diffierent approach. That was my main reason to go to university, a backup career. Not to prove I can handle such a course to the RAF (which many base the purpose of their degree, the majority view from fellow UAS students. The Bursars were studying for their backup career. Just an observation).

    I am indeed making a pivotal decision. I have met the requirements and just trying to get a solid backup career in place, personally develop and try again at OASC. Not spending 4 further years of my life in education.

    An understanding into why the RAF value university graduates so much may help me decide. Its not to late for me to grab the clearing list when it comes out and enrole in another university course, or apply for next year after looking at yet another backup career.

    Note: I have not yet informed my UAS of my intentions whether I am carrying on with higher education. Ill amend my first post.
    Welcome to the military. You don't need to understand it. You just need to know that a degree will make you more competitive for officer selection. Remember, most of the officers assessing you will be graduates.

    A degree in golf course management is seen as more valuable to a prospective admin officer than a CIMA accountancy qualification. That's just the way it is.
 
 
 
Poll
The new Gillette ad. Is it:
Useful resources

Articles:

Guide to the armed forcesGuide to the Royal Air ForceA job in the Army

Featured recruiter profiles:

Army logo

The Army is recruiting now

"With hundreds of roles available, there’s more than one way to be the best."

Quick Link:

Unanswered Armed Forces Threads

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.