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AIR MINISTRY PAMPHLET 15 — 1946


 

A.M. Pamphlet 15
17th Edition (Revised)

August 1946


ROYAL AIR FORCE

Summary of Conditions of Entry and Service

OF

AIRCRAFT APPRENTICES

Appendix

I.

Standards of Physical Fitness for Aircraft Apprentices.

       ,,

II.

Documents Required before Candidates Join the Training Centre.

       ,,

III

Emoluments of Apprentices and Airmen (including Aircrew).

       ,,

IV.

Scales of Pension.

       ,,

V.

The Qualifying Examination.

       ,,

VI.

Direct Entry Candidates.

       ,,

VII.

List of Approved Nominating Authorities.

       ,,

VIII.

Aircraft Apprentice Trades.

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 15 and 17 (or in exceptional cases 17) 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 :—

 

(a)

Fitter, Grade II (Airframe).

 

(b)

Fitter, Grade II (Engine).

 

(c)

Fitter (Armourer).

 

(d)

Electrician.

 

(e)

Instrument Maker.

 

(f)

Radio Mechanic (Air).

 

(g)

Radio Mechanic (Ground).

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.

 

(a)

Commissioning.— A limited number of cadetships at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, will be granted to selected apprentices, for commissioning in the general duties branches. Provision will also be made for the grant of commissions in the technical branch to apprentice-trained airmen.

 

(b)

Aircrew Employment.— In the post-war air force there will be in the main five regular aircrew categories, namely, pilot, navigator, signaller, engineer and gunner. It is intended that a number of apprentice-trained tradesmen will be selected for employment as pilots and navigators after a period of ground employment. Those in the appropriate trades, however, will constitute — in common with other entrants to those trades — the field for selection after a period of ground employment for the three remaining aircrew categories. A very limited number of aircrew in the signaller, engineer and gunner categories will also be selected for training as pilots and navigators.

 

(c)

Re-engagement of Aircrew Personnel.— Personnel selected as pilots and navigators, unless selected for commissions in accordance with arrangements which it is intended to introduce for these categories, will serve in that capacity for the balance of their initial 12 years' engagement. They will then be eligible for re-engagement to complete 22 years' service for aircrew pension, but no arrangements will be made to keep them in practice for their basic trade; on re-engagement they will still be eligible for commissioning, particularly for certain special duties — such as air traffic control — either in the general duties branch or in a ground branch.

 

(d)

Retention of Skill of Aircrew Personnel.— Signallers, engineers and gunners will be required by the nature of their aircrew duties to retain their skill in their trade. On completion of active aircrew employment (normally for five years) they will return to their basic trade and will be given an opportunity of taking a conversion course in that trade, in order to qualify for promotion and re-engagement. For a period after their return they will be liable for recall to aircrew service in an emergency, and will be required, and given facilities, to keep reasonably up-to-date as aircrew. A limited number will, after a period of employment in their ground trade, be selected for a further period of aircrew service, mainly in an instructional capacity. During their period of air crew employment they will have an opportunity of being selected for a commission, probably in the technical branch, and will do a tour of duty as aircrew leaders. Special arrangements will be made for those not commissioned to enable those who return to their ground trade to re-assume their places in that trade on finally ceasing to be. employed as aircrew.

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 15 years, but must not have attained the age of 17 (or in exceptional cases 17) 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.
14. There will be three entries per annum as detailed hereunder. Particular attention is directed to Appendix V which gives details of the examination and to Appendix VI which gives details of the "Direct Entry" scheme.

Month of Entry.

Examination Date.

Latest Date for Receipt of Nomina-
tions at Air Ministry (E.S.2(c).)

    January
    May
    September

  Last Tuesday in October.
    ,,        ,,       ,,  February
    ,,        ,,       ,,  June.

    Last Tuesday in September.
      ,,        ,,       ,,  January.
      ,,        ,,       ,,  May.

Nominations

15.

(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 —

 

(i)

the candidate is certified by the nominating authority to be specially suitable as regards character, educational standard, physical fitness, and bent of mind, for training as an aircraft apprentice in the Royal Air Force;

 

(ii)

the nominating authority is prepared to undertake, and accept responsibility for, the holding of the qualifying examination;

 

(iii)

the nomination is submitted on the appropriate form mentioned above;

 

(iv)

the candidate is not applying to any other authority for nomination, and has not been rejected as unsuitable by any such authority.

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 —

 

(a)

given further training in his trade if likely to qualify within a short period;

 

(b)

retained in the service in another trade;

 

(c)

discharged.

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 :—

 

(a)

After 10 years' service'   ..       ..        ..        ..        ..        ..        ..         ..

50

 

(b)

For each year's service in excess of 10 (subject to a maximum total of 200)

25

Thus in respect of 12 years' service from the age of 18 an airman would receive 100.

  

 



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