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AIR CARTOGRAPHER
CURRENTLY RECRUITING
Analysis & maths Being creative Gaming & computers
PAY DURING FIRST SIX MONTHS
£18,600+
+ Benefits
PAY AFTER COMPLETING BASIC TRAINING + SIX MONTHS SERVICE*
£25,200+
+ Benefits

*Until at least you have completed one year of service and successfully completed Professional Workplace Assessments on first posting.

As an RAF Air Cartographer you will create and edit key documents used by UK Armed Forces, foreign air forces and some civilian airlines.

Already applied? See what the next steps are >

What will you do?

You will analyse and validate worldwide aeronautical navigation data that is critical to Flight Safety across Defence. In your role you will:

 

  • Use cutting-edge development tools to create and develop new products, applications and ways of working
  • Update charts that detail obstructions like buildings and power lines so fast jets and helicopters can navigate safely at low levels
  • Process digital mapping for use in frontline aircraft cockpit displays and mission planning systems, or updating charts that guide our aircrew safely through take-off, transit and landing
  • Create charts depicting airways over countries around the world used by transport aircraft to carry troops to the front line
Minimum Education Requirement
  • Have GCSEs at Grade C/4 or Scottish National 5 at Grade C in English Language and Mathematics/Application of Mathematics.
Requirements
  • Be aged 16 – 47 years old (Must attest before 48th birthday)
  • Must be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, holder of dual UK/other nationality or have been a Commonwealth citizen since birth (with ‘right to work’ immigration status)
  • Commit minimum 3 years post Phase Two Training
  • Meet the health and fitness criteria
  • Pass the Defence Aptitude Assessment
  • Pass a Fitness test - Details below

 

View all entry requirements >

CAREER, TRAINING
& EDUCATION
At any level or position your personal success is vital to make us succeed too. We are dedicated to your future, as it is essential to ours. You will receive basic and specialist training in your field and we even provide the option to pay for your education. The experience you gain with the RAF will equip you to work at the top of your field, both in the UK and overseas.
01
Phase one training
Basic Recruit Training
white stopwatch icon for duration 10 weeks
white map-pin icon for location RAF Halton
Your career will start with the Basic Recruit Training Course at the RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire.
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02
Phase two training
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration 8 weeks
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The next step is an 8-week Basic Trade Training course at the School of Air Cartography, RAF Northolt.
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03
First tour
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
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You could maintain a catalogue of en-route charts that facilitate the safe transit of aircraft around the world.
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04
Your career prospects
Ongoing development
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
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After completing 1 years total service, you will be eligible for promotion to Air Specialist (Class 1) providing you pass Basic Trade Training and a Trade Ability Test.
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05
Continued development
Ongoing training
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
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After successful completion of Basic Trade Training, you will gain a Defence Awarding Organisation (DAO) Level 4 Certificate in Aeronautical Cartography (QCF).
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06
Transferable skills
Accredited training
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Much of our in-house training is accredited and/or recognised by external awarding bodies.
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WHY JOIN
THE RAF?

Thanks to subsidised food, travel, accommodation and free gym you get more money in your pocket.

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Benefits icon for Rent from £75p/m
Rent from £75p/m
Benefits icon for Free gym
Free gym
Benefits icon for Subsidised food
Subsidised food
Benefits icon for Health care
Health care
Benefits icon for World travel
World travel
Benefits icon for Training
Training
WHAT HAPPENS
AFTER APPLYING
Joining the RAF takes several steps. Below is an overview of the process. The purpose of this process is for us to gauge whether you’re the right person for the RAF and for you to show us all of your skills and experiences that have made you who you are.
1
Aptitude test
2
Selection Interviews
3
Health Assessment
4
Fitness Test
5
Acceptance
6
Training
1
Aptitude test
Stage 1 of 6

The aptitude test has been designed to ensure you’re a good fit for the role you’re applying for. You’ll answer seven multiple choice sections which each focus on a different skill:

  • Verbal reasoning - use and interpretation of written information
  • Numerical reasoning - ability with basic fractions, decimals and formulae
  • Work rate - speed and accuracy of tasks
  • Spatial reasoning - how shapes and objects work
  • Electrical comprehension - working with electrical concepts
  • Mechanical comprehension - grasp of mechanical concepts
  • Memory - Ability to remember information accurately

Click here to try the online practice test.

2
Selection Interviews
Stage 2 of 6

Here’s where we get to know you a little better. You’ll get to showcase your skills and experience, and we’ll answer any questions you have about joining us. Your interview will take place at a local AFCO and cover the following topics:

  • Family life
  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Special interests or hobbies
  • Interest in the RAF
  • Training
  • The role you’ve applied for
  • The RAF

You will be asked a series of standard questions during the interview, and be able to ask your own questions during the debrief that takes place afterward.

Some roles also require a second interview and/or test to determine your suitability. These are normally conducted over a one to three day period at an RAF base where you can see and experience the kind of environment you’ll be working in. Details about which interviews are relevant for you will be provided during the application process.

 

3
Health Assessment
Stage 3 of 6

You’re legally required to meet certain medical standards, and must pass an occupational health assessment to show you’re fit for military duty. As part of this assessment we will check your overall health, focusing on areas like hearing, eyesight and body mass index.

 

We’ll also investigate any past illnesses and screen for health issues that may prevent you from carrying out your role. Please refer to entry requirements below for more information about the health standards you’ll need to meet.

4
Fitness Test
Stage 4 of 6

A good level of fitness is critical to joining the RAF, it’s also something that must be maintained throughout your career. You’ll need to complete a Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFC). This will take place at a local gym, and includes a 2.4km run, push up test and a sit-up test.

 

The performance level you’ll need to meet differs by age and gender. Please refer to the entry requirements below for more information about the health standards you’ll need to meet. You can also find help, and a training plan, to assist you in your preparation here.

5
Acceptance
Stage 5 of 6

Once you’ve successfully completed each phase of the application process you’ll be invited to a provisional offer of service interview at your nearest AFCO. This is to ensure that you understand the terms and conditions of service in the RAF, are fully committed to joining, and prepared to commence training.

6
Training
Stage 6 of 6

Basic Recruit Training

This takes place over 10 weeks at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. It will make you fitter and more confident. It will challenge you mentally and physically, and it will prepare you for your career with us. There are 6 phases:

  • Arrival - You’ll be sworn into the RAF and be given a service number
  • General Service training - You’ll learn about marching, drills, core values and our code of conduct
  • Initial Force Protection training - Fighting and survival in a military environment
  • Exercise Blue Warrior - 4 days in the field with real battle conditions
  • Force development training - Apply your skills in new environments with adventurous training activities
  • Graduation - Learn about what’s required in your first post and display your new skills.

What next?
Now you’re a fully-fledged member of the RAF you can receive role specific training.

ENTRY
REQUIREMENTS

Be aged 16 – 47 years old (Must attest before 48th birthday)

Applicants must also read all of the sections below and make sure they meet all entry requirements before submitting an application.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

Have these minimum grades:

  GCSE GCSE 2017 Scottish National 5
Mathematics/Application of Mathematics C Grade 4-5 C
English Language C Grade 4-5 C

You can see what the RAF accepts in lieu of GCSEs & A Levels here.

NATIONALITY & RESIDENCY
NATIONALITY
You must be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, holder of dual UK/other nationality or have been a Commonwealth citizen since birth (with ‘right to work’ immigration status).
RESIDENCY
Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided there for the 5 years immediately preceding your application, but candidates with a minimum of 3 years may be considered. 

If you have resided abroad for a period due to work or study, you may still be eligible on a case by case basis. 

FITNESS REQUIREMENTS

You must be physically fit to complete both initial and specialist training, and to do your role effectively.

As part of the application process you will need to do the Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT), which takes place at a fitness centre local to you. This consists of the following:

  • 2.4km (1.5m) run on a treadmill (set to zero incline)
  • Achieve the required number of press-ups - within 60 seconds
  • Achieve the required number of sit-ups - within 60 seconds

How fit you need to be to pass this test can vary depending on role, age and gender. The requirements are listed on the charts below (Male and Female).

MEN
AGE 2.4 Km Run Press-ups Sit-ups
  (Mins) (No.) (No.)
15-16 12.39 20 35
17-29 12.11 20 35
30-34 12.36 19 32
35-39 13.02 18 29
40-44 13.30 17 26
45-49 14.00 16 23
50-54 14.34 15 20

 

WOMEN
AGE 2.4 Km Run Press-ups Sit-ups
  (Mins) (No.) (No.)
15-16 14.59 10 32
17-29 14.30 10 32
30-34 14.55 9 29
35-39 15.21 8 26
40-44 15.58 7 23
45-49 16.32 6 20
50-54 17.06 5 17

See here for more information about the test and a training plan.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Candidates joining the RAF must be medically fully fit, both physically and psychologically, to meet the challenges of military service, during which they will be expected to deploy, potentially at short notice, to locations world-wide that are remote from established medical care. 

 

Certain medical conditions could preclude entry to the RAF. Further details can be found in this document. 

Before your application, please note that Body Mass Index Requirements are as follows: 

Age Male and female minimum Male and female maximum Male maximum with additional assessment Female maximum with additional assessment
18 + 18 30 32 32
16 to < 18 17 27 27 27

Calculate your BMI here 

 

Eyesight requirements vary for different roles. A requirement to wear glasses or contact lenses may be allowed for aircrew. 
 
If you are unsure about any health criteria, please continue your application and your eligibility will be assessed at the medical examination stage.  

 

During your application, the Medical Risk Assessment that all candidates undergo is there to make sure that you are healthy enough for the intense training required by the RAF. Your application will be rejected if you fail to meet the minimum acceptable medical standard for entry. Your medical history is confidential and is not disclosed to those not authorised to hold this information. 

BACKGROUND CHECKS

YOU MUST:

  • Declare any previous spent and unspent convictions
  • Check if you qualify under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 through this summary
  • Have a basic background check to get Security Check level clearance
DISQUALIFYING FACTORS

YOU CAN'T APPLY FOR THE RAF IF YOU:

  • Have been or are a member of a group that stirs up racial hatred and violence
  • Are waiting to appear in court, or have unspent convictions. You may also have to declare spent convictions for certain roles
  • Misuse drugs, solvents and anabolic steroids. But each case is considered upon its own merits
  • Have tattoos, brands or bead implants that are obscene or offensive. 
    Any permanent or temporary tattoos, whether ordinarily visible or not, must not be obscene or offensive (eg, racist, anti-religion or belief, crude, overtly sexist, homophobic, drug related or of an extreme political nature). Tattoos may be worn on the side and back of the neck but tattoos on the back of the neck must not extend above the natural hairline (scalp tattoos are not permitted). 
  • Declare yourself to be an 'undischarged' bankrupt

Beard Policy: A revised facial hair policy has been agreed by the Air Force Board which will allow serving personnel to wear a smart, neatly-trimmed, full-set beard whilst maintaining high standards of appearance. The length of acceptable beards is between Grade 1 (2.5mm) and Grade 8 (25.5mm). The wearing of beards during Phase 1 and Phase 2 training is currently under consideration and details will be advised when available.

If you don’t have any of the above, you might still be able to apply. For more information please contact us.

APPLY
NOW
Got what it takes? Start your application here.
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