RAF Survival Equipment Specialist - Full Time Career with Apprenticeship Royal Air Force

RAF Survival Equipment Specialists are the engineering specialists for Pilot Flight Equipment and Airborne Life Support Equipment, designed to save and preserve life; in flight, during emergencies, and in survival situations. With over 50 places available, apply now!

This apprenticeship requires you to apply through the employer's website.

Apply now

Closing date: today

Apprenticeship summary

  • Annual wage


    The minimum pay in your first year is £19,100 (6 mth at £16,840 and 6 mth at £21,420). On completion of technical training, at least 1 years' service and a workplace assessment, your pay will rise to £24,990, increasing incrementally year on year.

  • Working week

    Shifts to be confirm on assignment to your first station after training.

    Total hours per week: 40

  • Expected duration

    36 Months

  • Possible start date

    02 Jun 2023

  • Date posted

    15 Oct 2022

  • Apprenticeship level

    Level 3 (A level)

  • Reference number


  • Positions

    50 available

What will the apprentice be doing?

Key Points

  • Maintain, test, repair and integrate cutting-edge Pilot Flight Equipment used to operate Aircraft.
  • Pack and maintain Airborne Forces parachutes, ejection seat parachutes and aircraft brake parachutes.
  • Provide a key role aiding Pilots and aircraft passengers survival; both in the UK and deployed overseas.

Survival Equipment Specialists are experts in the maintenance, modification, diagnostics and repair of the Airborne Life Support Equipment and Pilot Flight Equipment fitted to aircraft and crew members. As a Survival Equipment Specialist, you will perform a key role supporting the operation of frontline aircraft, such as RAF Typhoon, Lightning II, Hawk (Red Arrows), Atlas, C17 Globemaster III, Poseidon, Rivet Joint, Shadow, Puma and Chinook, as well as Army Air Corps aircraft, like Apache and Special Forces Dauphin. A core team member, carrying out safety-critical engineering at a variety of locations in the UK or overseas, you may be responsible for the maintenance of Pilot Vision Enhancement Devices, mission-integrated protective helmets and oxygen masks, emergency locator beacons, life preservers including body armour and anti-G protection; emergency escape parachutes designed to save the lives of Pilots on ejection; or restraint systems, life rafts & survival packs to help ensure survival in aircraft accidents or emergencies. Survival Equipment Specialists also maintain man-carrying parachuting equipment used by UK Special Forces and specialist RAF, Army & Royal Marine units. You will have the opportunity to deploy worldwide, supporting air operations and training in areas as diverse as Europe, USA, Middle East, South East Asia and many more. 

What training will the apprentice take and what qualification will the apprentice get at the end?

Your apprenticeship will start with a 10-week Basic Recruit Training Course at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you will also learn about the RAF lifestyle. If not already achieved, you will gain Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English.

The next step is Phase 2 Specialist Training at the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering Cosford, near Wolverhampton, lasting approximately 29 weeks. You will be taught the basic skills of mechanical and electrical engineering and learn the principles of engineering and maintenance of parachutes, life rafts, and Pilot Flight Equipment; including night vision devices, helmet mounted displays and oxygen systems. On successful completion, you will be promoted to Air Specialist Class 2 (AS(2)) and assigned to your first unit. During Specialist Training you will gain a Level 2 Diploma in Aerospace & Aviation Engineering (Survival Equipment Maintenance) and a Level 3 Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance (Survival Equipment). During your first tour you will complete the portfolio element of the Level 3 Diploma in Aviation Maintenance (Development Competence) and, where eligible and following an End Point Assessment, you will be awarded your Level 3 Survival Equipment Fitter Advanced Apprenticeship. 

What is the expected career progression after this apprenticeship?

After your initial Recruit and Specialist Training, you will be assigned to a UK unit where, under supervision, you will apply your newly-gained skills in a live environment; adding immediate value to RAF and UK air operations.

You may work on a Royal Air Force flying station providing direct support to the operation of combat air, multi-engined aircraft or helicopters. Alternatively, you may work within the Airborne Forces environment, maintaining parachute equipment for UK military parachutists; this could involve working on active parachute drop zones both in the UK and overseas.

You may support the delivery of Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Extraction training, providing assistance in the instruction of aircrew practicing survival training on land, or at sea.With additional experience and when demonstrating the required competence levels, supervision will be reduced. After completing one year’s total service, providing you have passed Specialist Training and a Professional Workplace Assessment, you will be eligible for promotion to AS(1). Following promotion to AS(1) and on completion of a further Professional Workplace Assessment and the level 3 Diploma; you will attain the rank of AS(1) Technician. This may afford the opportunity for further training, providing you with the skills to carry out additional and more complex tasks in your workplace.

Requirements and prospects

Desired skills and personal qualities

Attention to detail, Customer care skills, Problem solving skills, Administrative skills, Number skills, Analytical skills, Team working, Initiative, Physical fitness


GCSE or equivalent English Language (Grade C/4 or above) Essential
GCSE or equivalent Mathematics (Grade C/4 or above) Essential

About the employer

The Royal Air Force work with our UK and international partners to watch the skies, respond to threats, prevent conflict, and provide assistance in an uncertain world. We provide all personnel with a varied range of training and activities to make sure you're ready for anything. A career in the Royal Air Force will provide you with a whole host of possibilities. You will receive world class training, allowing you to learn and develop throughout your career. We recruit throughout the year, so please ignore the closing and start dates.


Royal Air Force


RAF Cosford





0345 6055555

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Training provider


Apprenticeship standard

Survival equipment fitter

Level 3 (A level)

Employer's Application Instructions

You'll be directed through to the RAF Recruitment Website where more detail on the role is available. We have positions available for this role throughout the year and the process can take a few months. Once you have completed an application you will be invited to complete an aptitude assessment, selection interview, health assessment and a fitness test. More details of the requirement can be found at the application link.

This apprenticeship requires you to apply through the employer's website.

Apply now

Closing date: today