AIR MINISTRY PAMPHLET 15 — 1946
ROYAL AIR FORCE
Summary of Conditions of Entry and Service
Scope of Pamphlet
1. This pamphlet contains a summary of the conditions of entry and service of aircraft apprentices in the Royal Air Force. The conditions are those which obtain at the date of issue, but are liable to change from time to time. They are subject in all respects to the detailed regulations which have been, or may be, issued by the Air Council. Where reference is made to post-war developments it must be understood that they cannot all be brought into effect immediately. Detailed regulations to cover post-war development will be issued as soon as possible, but some time must necessarily elapse before this process is complete.
What the Service Offers
2. The Aircraft Apprentice Scheme provides excellent facilities for educational and technical training in the most highly skilled trades of the R.A.F.. Boys accepted for this training must be between 15½ and 17 (or in exceptional cases 17½) years of age on entry. During their apprenticeship they are given free food, accommodation, clothing and medical attendance and are paid at rates varying from l0s. 6d. to 28s. a week. Details of the weekly rates of pay for aircraft apprentices and skilled tradesmen in the Group "A" trades are given in Appendix III to this Pamphlet.
3. The trades at present open to aircraft apprentices are :—
All these trades are Group "A" trades, which are the most highly skilled and highly paid ground trades in the Royal Air Force.
4. The period of apprenticeship is normally three years. This is followed by one year's continuation training at a selected unit, during which the ex-apprentice will be employed on productive work. Those apprentices who, at the end of their three years' training, reach a sufficiently high standard, may obtain National Certificates, which are awarded jointly by the Ministry of Education and the appropriate professional institution (e.g.. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers). During the continuation training the theoretical instruction is directed largely towards enabling all apprentices who reach the requisite standard to qualify for the Higher National Certificate. In addition the Royal Air Force provides facilities to enable general and technical education to continue throughout the whole of the ex-apprentices' service life.
5. An aircraft apprentice on joining is attested for a period covering his apprenticeship and twelve years' regular service from the age of 18, that is, from the date of joining until he reaches the age of thirty.
6. Ex-apprentice airmen may be selected for re-engagement from the age of 30 to complete time for pension. It is intended in the post-war air force to allow a substantially greater proportion to re-engage for pension than before the war. Moreover, it is intended to increase the length of re-engaged service and to make provision for the introduction of long service engagements up to the age of 50 or even 55, subject to the airman remaining proficient and physically fit. This will materially improve the long term prospects of airmen, who will enjoy the prospect of a life career in the service and a good pension at the end of it. Details of the scales of pension are given in Appendix IV.
7. The health and general welfare of aircraft apprentices receive careful and continuous attention. Such vaccinations, re-vaccinations and inoculations as are considered necessary in the interests of the health of the apprentice and the service will normally be carried out by the Royal Air Force Medical Authorities. Parents or guardians of accepted candidates who do not consent to (a) vaccination or (b) inoculation are required so to inform the Air Ministry at the time of entry in order that an appropriate note may be made in their records. The chaplains of the several denominations are given every facility in arranging for the religious instruction of apprentices. Special attention is paid to physical training; ample opportunities are afforded for games and out- door exercises and for suitable employment of leisure time.
8. Apprentices are accommodated separately from men. Care is taken to ensure that the conditions under which meals are served are satisfactory, and apprentices are encouraged to take a pride in the appearance of their mess, in its conduct and in their own behaviour. Intoxicating liquor is not allowed. Permission to smoke while off duty may be given to apprentices above the age of 18.
9. Apprentices may be granted leave for approximately six weeks in the year, and during leave will receive pay and an allowance in lieu of rations. A proportion of the normal pay (see Appendix III) is saved for apprentices and issued when they proceed on leave. For the two main leave periods free return railway tickets are supplied and for shorter leave periods half-price tickets.
10. Towards the end of his training the apprentice will be examined and, if successful, will be posted to a selected unit for one year's continuation training, during which he will be employed on productive work in the duties of his trade. After posting he will be granted the classification of A.C.I or A.C.2 according to his passing out marks. During his continuation training he will, if he attained the prescribed standard at his passing-out examination, be granted the classification of L.A.C. on the recommendation of his Commanding Officer. An ex-apprentice who did not attain that standard will have opportunities to pass a re-classifying test. Those who then fail to re-classify as L.A.C. will have further opportunities to do so during their service. After his classification as L.A.C. an airman is eligible for promotion to non-commissioned and thence to warrant rank.
11. The following opportunities will be open to apprentices in the post war air force outside their normal trade employment.
Liability for Duty in the Air.
12. All airmen are liable, if medically fit, to do duty in the air in any type of aircraft in any part of the world, ashore or afloat.
Qualification for Entry.
13. (a) Education, General Intelligence and Technical Aptitude. — Candidates must have received a good general education such as will enable them, provided they have the necessary special aptitudes to profit by the educational and technical training given to apprentices. To ensure this they are required to take the whole of the qualifying examination, unless excused the educational part of the examination under the concessions made to "direct entrants" as detailed in Appendix VI. All candidates should note, however, that success in, or exemption from part of, the qualifying examination is no guarantee of final selection, as special aptitude tests will be made at the time of the medical examination. "Service" and "Direct Entry" candidates are required to reach only a qualifying standard in the various tests; others are selected, according to the number of vacancies, on the combined results of all the tests.
(b) Nationality.— Candidates must be British subjects and normally the sons of parents both of whom are (or, if deceased, were at the time of death) British subjects.
(c) Age Limits.— Candidates must have attained the age of 15½ years, but must not have attained the age of 17 (or in exceptional cases 17½) years on the first day of the month of entry.
(d) Physical fitness.— Candidates must reach the high standard of fitness demanded by the Royal Air Force. Details are given in Appendix I to this Pamphlet
Dates of Entry, Examination and Nomination.
(a) All candidates, including "Service" and "Direct Entry" candidates, must first obtain a nomination (see para. 14 for latest dates). The appropriate nomination forms, A.M. Forms 699 and 699A, are obtainable only from the approved nominating authorities given in Appendix VII. The facilities available to sons of past or present personnel of the Royal Air Force, its Reserves and Auxiliaries, and the Women's Auxiliary Air Force for acceptance as "Service" candidates are given in para. 1 of Appendix V.
(b) A prospective candidate who was recently or still is at school should apply to the nominating authority through his headmaster. Others should apply direct to the local juvenile employment office.
c) Nominations are accepted only on the understanding that —
Entry of Candidates
16. Candidates who pass the qualifying examination will be so informed by the Air Ministry. Directions for reporting at a training establishment for medical examination and special aptitude tests, together with railway warrants for the journey and the forms named in Appendix II, will be forwarded later by the Air Officer-in-Charge of Records, Royal Air Force.
17. Subject to final approval by the Air Officer-in-Charge of Records, candidates selected after medical examination and special aptitude tests will be attested for service forthwith.
18. A candidate not selected will be given a railway warrant for his return home. A selected candidate who declines to enlist will be required to return home at his own expense.
Choice of Trades
19. An apprentice on entry is not allocated to any particular trade and no guarantee can be given that he will be trained in the trade of his first preference. Allocations to trades are made later, after apprentices have shown during their basic training the trade for which they are most suitable. Wherever possible apprentices are allowed their own choice, but the allocations to a particular trade depend also upon the number of vacancies in that trade and the relative aptitude of apprentices for it.
Termination of Initial Engagement
20. If an apprentice under training is considered unlikely to become an efficient tradesman, he will be liable to discharge at any time. Tests of progress are held periodically and, as far as possible, discharges on these grounds will be effected early in the training period. If an apprentice fails the passing-out examination he may, at the discretion of the Air Ministry, be —
No expenses, incurred in connection with the return of discharged apprentices to their homes abroad, will be borne by Air Force funds, but an "indulgence" passage if available, may be allotted subject to payment of the usual messing charges.
21. An airman not selected for, or not desirous of, re-engagement will be discharged on the completion of his initial engagement and, subject to his accepting a liability for service in the reserve if required to do so, will receive a service gratuity on the following scale :—
Thus in respect of 12 years' service from the age of 18 an airman would receive £100.