Advice on making it as an officer in RAF Watch

therichcrew
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Hello Everybody,

I am new to this forum, but I have read it quite a lot over the past few days and would love to join in.

I have a few questions to kind of introduce myself etc.
I want to join the RAF as an officer and I was wondering if I could have a few questions by those in the know (particularly Wzzz, with the RAF experience and Gemma, who is obviously a girl who has recently been successful.. well done!! and GR4Pilot who seems very nice). I thought of trying to join as a Supply Officer, but I heard that this position was closed for the moment, but if it isn't I would still like to apply for that position.

The questions I have are:

1: I am a woman, 22, and I am in my final year at University doing Journalism. I was in the CCF for a year when I was a teenager, but apart from that I have no other experience in the Air Cadets. My brother is in the Army though and I know a lot of people who have been and are in the forces so I am not entirely clueless as to what it all entails. Is all this a disadvantage or will they accept candidates who haven't been in the CCF. Also is a journalism degree a disadvantage? I did the degree because I wanted a degree behind me and I am extremely interested in current affairs, I am at one of the best journalism training colleges though so I am glad I did it.

2: Are the RAF looking for the same Officer qualities in a woman as a man?

3: Are the main Officer qualities really as they are layed out on the RAF website?

4: I am quite fit, but I am not a sportswoman, is this a disadvantage?

5: I would like to join as a Supply Officer, but more than anything I am interested in being an Officer in the RAF, would it be a disadvantage to be flexible with job role, or will I simply look like I am not committed.

I am very serious about being an Officer and I am also realistic that this is very challenging and only the best get the job. I would like as much information from as many places as possible, as they say, knowledge is power!!!

Sorry that this is rather longwinded.

Thanks and I look forward to hearing your replies. :confused:
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GR29KHS
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(Original post by therichcrew)
...and Gemma, who is obviously a girl who has recently been successful.. well done!!).
Thank-you

Well I'm not in anyway an authority on what they look for at Cranwell and no doubt people like Wzz will be able to give better info and probably correct me :p:

But I'll give it a go:
(Original post by therichcrew)
Also is a journalism degree a disadvantage?
Definietely not - I did a finance degree and applied for Air Traffic Control - it's not the degree they're worried about - it's what you've learnt from life as a student.
(Original post by therichcrew)
Is all this a disadvantage or will they accept candidates who haven't been in the CCF.
Any military experience is an advantage but it's not a requirement. A candidate who'd done 3 years of adventurous training and weekends volunteering at a local care home would look better on paper than a candidate who'd done 6 months in the ATC and had a parent in the RAF.
(Original post by therichcrew)
Are the RAF looking for the same Officer qualities in a woman as a man?
Yep - the RAF is an equal opportunites employer.
(Original post by therichcrew)
I am quite fit, but I am not a sportswoman, is this a disadvantage?
You'll need to be fit but you don't need to be Paula Radcliffe. The PT sessions will be tough but you will be training with people of a similar fitness level.
(Original post by therichcrew)
I would like to join as a Supply Officer, but more than anything I am interested in being an Officer in the RAF, would it be a disadvantage to be flexible with job role, or will I simply look like I am not committed.
A lot of people change their minds. I originally went for Intelligence, then switched to ATC. Having a back-up branch or 2 in your application isn't a problem. At the end of the day they want people who want to be RAF Officers.
(Original post by therichcrew)
I am extremely interested in current affairs
This will help tremendously for all you interviews!

Welcome to the forum! I hope you find enough info on here to help you make an informed decision.
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Sam-J-J
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Great post Gemma!

I don't feel I'm in a position to add anything either, I've not even had my Filter Interview yet! *rolls eyes*
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GR29KHS
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Thanks. I think anyone with any experience can give advice - as long as people know what stage you're at so that they can make their own decision on how much that advice is worth.

Plus the great thing about TSR is that there's more experienced people who can correct you. I do honestly appreciate when I'm corrected - even if I do try and argue it
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GR29KHS
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(Original post by GemmaLS)
Yep - the RAF is an equal opportunites employer.
Think I'd better cover myself here: the RAF Regiment don't take women.
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Wzz
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(Original post by therichcrew)
The questions I have are:

1: I am a woman, 22, and I am in my final year at University doing Journalism. I was in the CCF for a year when I was a teenager, but apart from that I have no other experience in the Air Cadets. My brother is in the Army though and I know a lot of people who have been and are in the forces so I am not entirely clueless as to what it all entails. Is all this a disadvantage or will they accept candidates who haven't been in the CCF.
Yes, of course they will. Being a cadet has nothing to do with it, and we reject a lot more ex-cadets than we accept. A lot have the attitude that the CCF is a pre-RAF finishing school; not the case. Your degree's merits or otherwise are irrelevant. You've proven you have a "trainable mind" and can stick to a long scheme of training, which is a quality we like.

(Original post by therichcrew)
2: Are the RAF looking for the same Officer qualities in a woman as a man?
It is very hard to resist the numerous jokes and bits of banter that I could pour out about this one. It's also hard to resist making some sharp comments about the conduct and ability of some girls I've met during training! But, seeing as you asked nicely, yes. Exactly the same.

(Original post by therichcrew)
3: Are the main Officer qualities really as they are layed out on the RAF website?
Yes, pretty much. If you're an honest, pleasant, team player, then you won't go too far wrong. Integrity's a big issue, loyalty to your service/squadron/whatever plays a surprisingly big part, but in general they're pretty much right with the website.

(Original post by therichcrew)
4: I am quite fit, but I am not a sportswoman, is this a disadvantage?
No, the other way around. It's an advantage if you can pitch up to IOT and represent the RAF College at hockey/equestrianism/netball/athletics/swimming, but it's not a disadvantage if you can't. Plenty of opportunity to improve and become a sportswoman if you like!

The fitness you need is the type that allows you to walk 40km a day while carrying a huge pile of kit and a rifle, and still be able to lead a team and operate effectively when your lead is the last in the day. Not just simple "running fitness."

(Original post by therichcrew)
5: I would like to join as a Supply Officer, but more than anything I am interested in being an Officer in the RAF, would it be a disadvantage to be flexible with job role, or will I simply look like I am not committed.
Bloody hell you're a recruiter's dream. Shall I welcome you to the fighter control branch now?

It's sensible to know about the branches you want. You'll look slightly silly appearing and saying "hey, I don't care; any branch! Whatever! It's only an 18 year commission!" They wisely don't want you signing up for 18 years in a job you haven't researched and decided "yes, I like this, I could do this."

By all means get all the literature for all the branches, and if you genuinely like them all, fine. But concentrate on a handful. Put down half a dozen branches that you know enough about to impress at an interview; your six favourites. If you don't get one of your top six choices, chances are they're not about to offer you your seventh; know what I mean?

(Original post by therichcrew)
I am very serious about being an Officer and I am also realistic that this is very challenging and only the best get the job. I would like as much information from as many places as possible, as they say, knowledge is power!!!
Don't worry too much. You're right not everyone gets in, but OASC's a lot easier than IOT, for example.
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Wzz
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(Original post by GemmaLS)
Plus the great thing about TSR is that there's more experienced people who can correct you. I do honestly appreciate when I'm corrected - even if I do try and argue it
Yes, you do occasionally need put in your place, don't you....
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puk2184
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Welcome to the forum, the richcrew

I'm sure all your questions have been well answered by gemma and wzz!

Just a thought, where are all the aircrew applicants? I seem to be the only one on here!
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GR29KHS
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(Original post by Wzz)
Yes, you do occasionally need put in your place, don't you....
Well as they said at OASC I "endeavour to remain involved in the debate" but I'm learning it's hard to debate when you don't know what the hell you're talking about. However if you want me to tell you how to drive from South Wales to Cranwell staying in one piece and provide several alternatives I'm you girl!
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Huxley
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Having studied journalism, you might find a read through the information for the Administrative (Training) branch worthwhile. Admin Trainers analyse, develop, deliver and evaluate the training provided by the RAF. They are however, more than just that. Admin Trainers are playing a key role in 'Force Development' and have a war-role within 'Media Operations'.

That might be a branch worth considering?
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GR29KHS
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(Original post by Wzz)
It is very hard to resist the numerous jokes and bits of banter that I could pour out about this one. It's also hard to resist making some sharp comments about the conduct and ability of some girls I've met during training! But, seeing as you asked nicely, yes. Exactly the same.
Wzz, I'd appreciate it if you could expand on this. I know that in this PC world Adam and Eve were created equal, but in reality men and women have different strengths. Is there any advice you could offer a woman starting IOT - things to avoid, things we have to work harder at than the blokes, etc
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Wzz
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Whoever said "force development" wash your mouth out with bleach. Forced development more like.

Trainers need to have some sort of teaching qualification if I recall; as in a PGCE or similar?
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therichcrew
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Hello,

Thank you very much everybody for all your comments, it's all very useful! It's good to be welcomed into the forum, I think it is a great place to get encouragement and loads of great info from everybody. It's always good to talk to a group of people with similar interests

--------------

GemmaLS and Wzz thanks especially I have found your comments very encouraging.
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GR29KHS
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(Original post by Wzz)
Shall I welcome you to the fighter control branch now?
Time for a warning for anyone thinking about applying for Officer. Find out what this branch entails and decide whether or not it's for you, then if they suggest it to you you can say "no thanks" and they'll suggest something else.
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Wzz
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(Original post by GemmaLS)
Wzz, I'd appreciate it if you could expand on this. I know that in this PC world Adam and Eve were created equal, but in reality men and women have different strengths. Is there any advice you could offer a woman starting IOT - things to avoid, things we have to work harder at than the blokes, etc
There were some girls on my IOT who suffered badly from injuries, and yet were never recoursed. They rarely did PT after picking up said injuries, and needed carrying through the harder, more physical leads. This breeds a bit of discontent; there were people on my grad who were genuinely hacked off that certain women were marching on the same grad square.

You're not going to be as strong as the blokes on your squadron, and you may well struggle a little bit to carry a full CEMO load around Otterburn. Do the most you can to minimise that, and make sure that if your flight help you out you still do everything you can; they'll like you and want to take some of your weight for you- we did for the girls on my flight when the going got harder.

Concentrate on your ability not to run/swim/whatever, but to carry a heavy weight long distances at a 6km/h pace.

Some girls fall quickly into moaning a lot. I remember standing on FLC waiting for a brief; all my kit on, beret neatly shaped, rifle in hand, looking terribly dashing . Meanwhile, one of my flight's girls was sitting looking miserable with the rifle on a sling round her neck like a millstone; *****ing about how we shouldn't have to carry rifles because "we're not really in the military yet." Avoid that sort of thing.
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GR29KHS
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Accidently deleted this post:

(Original post by Wzz)
It is very hard to resist the numerous jokes and bits of banter that I could pour out about this one. It's also hard to resist making some sharp comments about the conduct and ability of some girls I've met during training! But, seeing as you asked nicely, yes. Exactly the same.
Wzz, I'd appreciate it if you could expand on this. I know that in this PC world Adam and Eve were created equal, but in reality men and women have different strengths. Is there any advice you could offer a woman starting IOT - things to avoid, things we have to work harder at than the blokes, etc

--------------

Thanks for your honesty there Wzz - it's something we girls need to hear.

Will work hard on my strength and endurance then
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therichcrew
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What is Fighter Control Branch exactly?
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Wzz
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Have a peek on the RAF Careers site.

You control fighters; either from some deep, dark underground bunker or the back of a Sentry. You're a more direct air traffic controller dealing with fighters looking to intercept things.

It's not a terribly popular branch; unfairly so I think; so if you meet the aptitude requirements and aren't successful for your primary branch choice it's one they'll often offer.
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Huxley
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(Original post by Wzz)
Whoever said "force development" wash your mouth out with bleach. Forced development more like.

Trainers need to have some sort of teaching qualification if I recall; as in a PGCE or similar?
Like most branches it's worth checking with the AFCO; I know an Admin Trainer whose specific qualification is in Media Studies.
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therichcrew
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Oh, I see, Fighter Controller, isn't that what the job is called? Actually I had looked at that too, I think that looks quite good, why does nobody want to do it?
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