1.0 Communication Infrastructure Technician
- Specialist Training: The takes place at RAF Digby in Lincolnshire, and lasts for 17 weeks. This course is designed to prepare trainees for their first assignment by giving them a general grounding in engineering skills and working at height. During the course trainees will be offered the opportunity to begin an Intermediate Apprenticeship, which includes; a Level 2 Technical Certificate, Level 2 Functional Skills and a trade based Diploma in Professional Competence. Upon successful completion of the course trainees will also gain a Working at Height Certificate. During the first assignment trainees will be enrolled into Advanced Fibre Optic and Structured Cabling courses where they will gain City & Guilds qualification on successful completion.
- Ongoing Development: As a career progresses, the RAF will continue to train individuals in new skills. There are opportunities for training in scaffolding and rescue from height procedures. Trainees will also be expected to take management and leadership courses when they progress through the ranks helping them become a more effective team leader.
2.0 ICT Technician
- Specialist Training: The next step is a Phase 2 Specialist ‘trade’ training course at No 1 Radio School (No 1 RS) at RAF Cosford near Wolverhampton. This foundation course, which lasts for approx 12 months, is designed to prepare trainees for their first tour by giving them a breadth of skills and knowledge across a range of duties they may be employed in. Trainees will study a range of subjects, including:
- Electrical and electronic principles;
- Radar and radio principles;
- Satellite and data communications;
- Information systems; and
- Network administration and security.
- Additionally, trainees will also be instructed in health and safety, air safety, maintenance practices and the hands-on technical skills required for deploying and maintaining the RAFs communications networks, information systems and sensors. Trainees will have the opportunity to gain civilian recognised qualifications, as part of an Advanced Apprenticeship. Trade training also incorporates a number of other non-technical elements designed to develop self-confidence, team working and communications skills and to build on the experience gained during Phase 1 initial training. Opportunities for sport and adventurous training are also programmed in to enable development of physical fitness, leadership skills and personal qualities.
- Nationally-recognised Qualifications: The training individuals will receive is recognised by a wide range of civilian employers and trainees will gain transferable qualifications. As an ICT Technician trainees will be enrolled on an Advanced Apprenticeship in Communications Technologies. Trainees will complete both the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in ICT Systems and Principles and the Level 2 Functional Skills elements of the apprenticeship during their recruit and trade training course. The third element of an Advanced Apprenticeship is the Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals. Half of this is also completed within the realistic working environments of trainee’s initial trade training; however, the remainder of the Diploma is undertaken in the course of duties during the first tour, overseen by work-place assessors. On completion of these qualifications trainees are entitled to register as an ICT Tech with the Engineering Council. No 1 Radio School is a Microsoft- and Cisco-accredited academy, and the training delivered is recognised by a wide range of civilian employers and backed by transferable qualifications. As an ICT Technician, trainees will be enrolled on an Advanced Apprenticeship in Communications Technologies during their specialist training. Trainees will go on to the BTEC National Award in Communications Electronic Engineering/Technology at Level 3 and will also be able to start the Communications Technology Professional Level 3 NVQ, which can be completed in the workplace during the first tour.
- First Tour: During the first tour, trainees will be employed as part of a team responsible for managing their unit’s ICT systems. Trainees will have the opportunity to develop a range of skills, which may include maintenance tasks associated with satellite terminals, fibre optics, aircraft support and other systems vital to the operation of the RAF. Alternatively trainees could be employed on an airfield maintaining air traffic services, within an information hub (IHub), where they will be the first port of call providing advice on software applications, information management and exploitation and system administration or within an engineering section repairing IT systems and installing software and hardware.
- Ongoing Development: A major advantage of being an ICT Technician is the breadth and diversity of the tasks they are expected to undertake, further post graduate training is available to ensure that trainees are properly trained for every role. Training may involve the study of the complex electrical/electronic principles associated with radar and radio theory. Skills in this area allow individuals to develop the additional technical expertise required to analyse and investigate complex faults on these systems as well as carry out specialist in-depth repair. If required specialist training will be given in application support, web-skills, database and network management and cyber security to assure the integrity and efficient operation and management of the RAF’s and other military networks. The additional training that is undertaken may provide the opportunity to acquire further nationally-recognised qualifications.
3.0 Intelligence Analyst
- Specialist Training: The next step is a 15-week course in the fundamentals of intelligence at the Defence School of Intelligence at Chicksands in Bedfordshire. The course is designed to train individuals as an Operational Intelligence (OPINT) analyst and gives them a good understanding of the sources of intelligence, such as imagery and communications, the techniques for processing intelligence and the skills to disseminate the intelligence effectively, either through written or graphical means or by delivering an intelligence briefing. The course also covers the roles of UK intelligence organisations, such as GCHQ, and the RAF intelligence structure, as well as introducing trainees to the worlds of electronic warfare and electronic intelligence. Trainees will also learn about IT applications, research techniques, military mapping and they will consolidate training by field deploying to put all the new skills into practice. While undergoing Phase 2 training, trainees will also complete an RAF Apprenticeship that will allow them to gain civilian accredited qualifications. On successful completion of the course, trainees will graduate as a Leading Aircraftman/woman (LAC) and be posted to their first tour of duty. As soon as they have completed all elements of the RAF apprenticeship, individual’s will be eligible to apply for Advancement in Incremental Pay.
- First Tour: For a first tour, individuals may be posted to an Intelligence Cell at an RAF Station, working in a team with other Intelligence Analysts; where they will carry out background research, assist in the preparation of intelligence briefings, perform basic analysis and help produce intelligence reports for military operations. Trainees could also be posted to a frontline Intelligence unit where they will be required to utilise hi-tech systems in support of more senior Intelligence Analysts acting in a tactical imagery intelligence role. Alternatively, individuals could be posted to a unit tasked with the collection and analysis of a variety of signals, ranging from complex communications data transmissions to sonar returns. During the first tour individuals will initially work under supervision until they gain experience and, at the majority of these locations, individuals may be required to work shifts.
- Ongoing Development: As a career progresses, the RAF will continue to train individuals in new skills. In addition to management and leadership training there individuals will be selected for one of a number of Further Training (FT) courses in one of the specialist intelligence fields of Imagery (IMINT), Communications (COMINT) or Electronic Warfare (ELINT) after a first tour in OPINT. There are two options for Intelligence Analysts who do not complete FT successfully: they could either transfer to another job in the RAF for which they have the necessary aptitude, if there is a vacancy available; or they could leave the RAF.
4.0 Intelligence Analyst (Voice)
- Specialist Training: The next step is a specialist training course at the Defence Centre for Languages and Culture (see Section 7.0), which lasts up to 2 years, depending on the language a trainee is learning. Trainees will learn a modern language (currently, April 2014, Pashto, Arabic or Farsi) up to interpreter standard. Trainees will also undertake elements of the Fundamentals of Intelligence course. These elements will give trainees an understanding of the sources of intelligence, the techniques for processing intelligence and basic report writing. The course will also cover the roles of UK intelligence organisations, and the RAF intelligence structure, as well as introducing trainees to the worlds of electronic warfare and electronic intelligence. Trainees will also learn about IT applications and develop keyboard skills.
- First Tour: For a first tour, trainees will probably be posted to a UK base working in a team with other Intelligence Analyst (Voice) (Int An (V)) where they will monitor, collect and analyse voice radio transmissions. During a first tour trainees will initially work under supervision until they gain experience and they may be required to work in shifts, operating state-of-the-art equipment to carry out the mission to monitor hostile activity. Dependent on future operational requirements, some trainees may spend their first tour as part of an Army Electronic Warfare Regiment or Defence Human Intelligence Unit where they will get the opportunity to work in both mobile and static roles and can expect to be deployed as part of the unit in support of the UK’s exercises and operations. Whichever location newly qualified tradesmen are posted to, they will find themselves working alongside colleagues from the other Services – since an Int An(V) can be viewed as being one of those at the forefront of the Joint Services environment.
- Ongoing Development: As a career progresses, the RAF will continue to train individuals in new skills. As well as management and leadership training, there are opportunities to learn additional languages or to reach a higher level of proficiency in your core foreign language. Individuals could choose to take a qualification in modern languages which qualifies towards a university degree and may also have the opportunity to gain technical or managerial NVQs up to Level 4.
5.0 Intelligence Officer
- Specialist Training: After Initial Officer Training, trainees will follow a five-month specialist training course at Chicksands in Bedfordshire. The course is designed to give trainees a thorough grounding in basic intelligence techniques and sources, including:
- Intelligence agencies and their methods;
- Collection and analysis of intelligence; and
- Briefings and report writing.
- The course also covers military equipment recognition, tactics, operations and weapons technology. When trainees have completed their specialist training, they will be posted to the Air Warfare Centre at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire to follow the Combat Ready Programme. Training does not finish there. As a Combat Ready Intelligence Officer, deployed to either a main operating base or a front-line squadron, individuals will be assessed continuously to ensure that they are maintaining the branch’s exacting standards.
- First Tour: a first tour could see individuals being posted to a front-line flying station, where they will keep flying squadrons and senior executives aware of the latest threat assessments. Individuals could also be posted to a headquarters to work with information from a range of sources; choosing the most relevant information and providing intelligence briefings. If individuals subsequently operate within Imagery Analysis, they will probably be posted either to the Defence Geospatial Intelligence Fusion Centre (DGIFC) at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire, where they will produce the strategic and operational intelligence reports used to formulate defence policy and support current operations, or to the Tactical Imagery Intelligence Wing at RAF Marham in Norfolk, where they will support tactical reconnaissance squadrons on operations at home and overseas.
- Ongoing Development: As an Intelligence Officer, individuals will have extensive opportunities for further professional development throughout their career. As well as leadership training, there are courses in imagery analysis, security, weapons, targeting, electronic warfare and air operations – which individuals may undertake depending on the training they need to prepare for future tours.
- Specialist Training: The next step is a specialist training course at DSAE Cosford, near Wolverhampton, which lasts about seven months. Trainees will be enrolled on an Advanced Apprenticeship, the Technical Certificate and Key Skills element which will be delivered entirely in training. Trainees will learn how to take photographs and train to use digital image manipulation software and other digital photographic processing techniques. At the end of this course, trainees will have earned their NVQ Level 3 in Digital Photography and Imaging, which will signal the completion of the Advanced Apprenticeship.
- First Tour: For a first tour, individuals will be posted to a photographic section on an RAF base in the UK where they will be able to put into practice and further develop the skills they learnt during training.
- Ongoing Development: As a career progresses, the RAF will continue to train individuals in new skills. Indiviudals could also have opportunities to complete management and leadership training.
7.0 Defence Centre for Languages and Culture
The Defence Centre for Languages and Culture (DCLC) sits within the College of Management and Technology, which is part of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom (DAUK) located in Shrivenham, near Swindon.
The DCLC was formerly the Defence School of Languages (DSL) located at Beaconsfield Station but closed on 09 September 2013 (GetBucks, 2013) as part of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) rationalisation programme.
The DCLC comprises (DAUK, 2014):
- An HQ element.
- Two in-house language delivery functions:
- Foreign Language Wing (FLW): provides contingency language training and training in Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish.
- English Language Wing (ELW): ELW delivers English language and cultural training to international military and attached personnel on behalf of the MoD in order to enhance operational capability, support the UK’s International Defence Engagement Strategy and wider Defence Diplomacy.
- A Training Support Cell (TSC).
Additional languages are trained on a bespoke basis, co-ordinated and assured through the TSC. A number of language training courses, including phase 2 training, are delivered at DAUKs Chicksands site.