RAF Air Operations Control Officer – Full Time Career with Apprenticeship

Royal Air Force

Apprenticeship summary

A unique opportunity to complete an apprenticeship as a RAF Air Operations Control Officer, with an Ofsted outstanding training provider. You’ll be working with some of the most advanced technology and aircraft in the world and play a key part in the UKs defence. With over 35 places available across the year, Apply today!

Apply To Vacancy

Closing date: August 1, 2024

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Total hours per week:
Expected duration (weeks):
Positions (available):
Date posted:
April 15, 2024
Possible start date:
September 1, 2024
Apprenticeship level:


The specialisation of Air Operations Control Officer is part of the Air & Space Ops Profession within the RAF, which also includes Air Operations Systems Officer, Air Traffic & Weapons Controller, Air and Space Operations Specialists, Air Cartographers and Firefighters. This vacancy is for the Air Operations Control Officer position.

The Air Operations (Control) is a diverse, exciting and complex employment area which directs and supports operations both in the UK and around the world. The three key employment areas are Terminal Air Traffic Control (providing an ATC service at an airfield), Area Control (working alongside civilian air traffic controllers at the UK’s Air Traffic Control Centre at Swanwick) and finally as a Weapons Controller (direct fast jet aircraft to intercept potentially hostile aircraft that threaten the integrity of UK Airspace).

As a member of the Royal Air Force, you could find yourself operating from a field, a bunker, a building, a tent, from the back of a plane or even an aircraft carrier. Regardless, you will be part of a varied and stimulating organisation which offers an excellent career and worldwide employment opportunities that is at the heart of the RAF’s flying output.

There are three key employment areas you could find yourself working in:

– Terminal Air Traffic Control providing Air Traffic Control services to aircraft operating at or near RAF stations around the world. 

– Weapons Control where you’ll direct and control fast jet aircraft to intercept potentially hostile aircraft that threaten UK Airspace or in complex air-to-air exercises.

– Area Control working alongside civilian air traffic controllers at the UK’s Air Traffic Control Centre at Swanwick where you will control military aircraft across the country by radar.

You will be able to set preferences for the location and type of employment you would like to undertake and there is also the opportunity to undertake roles outside of your specialisation.

Within your first few years, you will get the opportunity to deploy overseas in support of the RAF’s mission.

Level 5 Air Traffic Controller

You will complete a challenging course designed to develop your strength, fitness, leadership and academic skills through a number of indoor and outdoor exercises across the UK.

Module 1 – Military Skills where you will learn the basics of being part of the RAF

Module 2 – Development 1: Know yourself to lead others 

Module 3 – Development 2: Line management & command 

Module 4 – Consolidation (Summative assessment & graduation)

Specialist training is delivered at the Defence College of Air and Space Operations at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire and subsequently for Weapons Controllers at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland.

This training starts with a Foundation Module and is completed alongside Air Operations (Systems) Officers, Air Ops (Control) Officers and Air Traffic & Weapons Controllers. Following successful completion, you will be assigned to a specialist module in one of the core specialisations: Terminal (Airfield) ATC or Weapons Control. Prospective Weapons Controllers will carry out the last part of their training at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland.

You could return at a later date to complete a short conversion course to allow you to undertake roles in the other core areas including Area Radar control.

  • You will join the RAF as an Officer under an initial 12 year engagement. Following 4 years’ service, you will be eligible to apply for an extension of service to complete a Pension Earning Engagement of 20 years’ service or age 40, whichever is the later, during this time.
  • Promotion to the rank of Sqn Ldr and beyond is dependent on successful completion of the Air Traffic Control apprenticeship and then on merit by competitive selection
  • As you advance through the ranks, you will have the increased opportunity to lead and direct people, managing resources and workforce within your area of work to deliver the required outputs whilst maintaining and instilling the highest standards expected within the RAF


Royal Air Force

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.


Training Provider:


Apprenticeship standard:

Air traffic controller (level 5)