Who are the Royal Air Force (RAF)?
The Royal Air Force operates at the cutting edge of technology and recognises that a diverse workforce enhances operational capability through increased creativity, innovation and team cohesion. More than 50% of the RAF are engineers and engineering technicians. Critical to expanding the recruitment pool is reaching out to untapped talent and raising awareness of the value and importance of STEM, and their links to future career opportunities. As an employer of choice, the RAF is committed to increasing the number of women in the Service, particularly within the technical trades. In support of this priority, the RAF has a long running and comprehensive Youth & STEM programme, whose underpinning intent is to deliver a future talent pool with the right skills and motivation, that is reflective of the society we serve and will ensure a sustainable RAF workforce in the future. Fundamental to successful delivery is access to socially deprived areas and a more gender and ethnically diverse target audience. Early engagement, which challenges social stereotyping and cultural expectation will help young people realise and achieve their full potential. Encouraging individuals to consider non-traditional career pathways is imperative to achieving a diverse workforce and the RAF works with a range of partners to ensure our message is spread as widely as possible.
What projects / schemes / initiatives to support women’s recruitment, retention and progression in STEM are the RAF involved in?
The RAF runs a comprehensive youth STEM programme that engages young people from age 9-14 in a variety of STEM engagements that include; a theatre based STEM Roadshow, School STEM Days, large scale Engagement Events, STEM Competitions and the development of a range of curriculum mapped Learning Resources. From age 14 the RAF offers a range of interventions to support career choices that include an array of apprentiships and university bursaries.
Why did the RAF join WISE?
“The RAF joined WISE because we share the goal of encouraging more women into non-traditional, STEM related careers, particularly engineering and recognise that our best hope for achieving this goal is to work together with like-minded organisations to change national stereotypes.”
– Wing Commander R Barnes, Head of Youth and STEM.