If you’ve been considering joining the RAF here’s an insight from an Intelligence Analyst…

It’s comforting to know that there are highly talented and skilled individuals willing to protect the skies of Britain and beyond.  There are lots of benefits to signing up to the RAF however, it’s worth getting a balanced view of what life is really like when you sign up.

“The Royal Air Force is an inclusive employer which supports and values difference. The people are as varied as the roles they fulfil.”  RAF

We interviewed Gavin Crawley a previous Intelligence Analyst in the RAF and asked him to describe his experience.  What he really enjoyed and what was the most challenging part of his career in the RAF.

Tell us about you?

“I served in the RAF between 1990 and 2000, during which time I served in Kosovo, Bosnia, Cyprus, the UK, Gibraltar and Naples. I was an intelligence analyst which was a rewarding job, but one with a high burn-out rate, hence my career ending after 12 years.

Since then I have worked at Carphone Warehouse (where I met Louisa), going on to become a regional manager and I started working as a copywriter about 5 years ago.”

Why did you join the RAF?

“Partly because my brother was already in, partly because my career prospects beforehand were not looking too great and partly because it seemed like an exciting career path.”

The majority of people who serve in the RAF will share great experiences.  They will tell you there are great opportunities for self-development through training and learning new skills.

Here are just a few of the roles within the RAF:

  • Cyber Space Communications Specialist
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Personnel Support
  • RAF Regiment Gunner
  • Weapon Technician
  • Air and Ground Steward
  • Supply, Storage and Distribution Specialist
  • Chef
  • Driver
  • Air Operations Officer
  • Engineers and Technicians and Electricians etc.
  • Survival Equipment Specialist
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health, Adult), Medical Officers, Radiographer, RAF Medic etc.
  • Physical Fitness Trainers
  • Legal Officers
  • Police Officers
  • Fire Fighters
  • Pilots

What was the most enjoyable part of your career and why?

“Spending around 3½ years learning languages (Russian & Serbo Croat) and applying them in the field. Travelling the world also broadened my horizons greatly, leading to me becoming a much more accomplished, confident and worldly-wise person than when I went in.”

Everyone will have a different experience while serving in the RAF.  There are lots of aspects to consider before signing up.  Try to gain a balanced view of any career choice you are considering.  What are the advantages and weighing up any disadvantages.

What was the most challenging part of the job and why?

“The toll the job took on me physically and emotionally. I wasn’t directly involved in any conflict, but when in a warzone the threat is always there and at the back of your mind. My particular role was also quite a lonely one that suited me less and less as I got older. By 12 years, I had had my fill of not being in control of my own destiny.”

There can be long periods away from home to consider.  Does this suit your personal life situation?  Do you have children to consider when selecting a career path?

What skills would you say were the most beneficial during your career?

“Leadership. Problem-solving. Working and living as part of a team.”

Gavin is now a successful Copywriter running his own Digital Marketing Business called 4 Contact UK 

What advice would you give to anyone considering signing up?

“I would say that anyone considering joining up should look at it for what it is, a well-paid, rewarding career, but one that’s not without its risks and personal sacrifice.

Go into it with an open mind, an expectation that a lot of hard work lays ahead of you and an understanding that your life is going to change radically and you won’t be surprised or disappointed.”

If you want to give yourself the best chance of joining the RAF visit How2Become are the UKs leading careers and educational information and development website. From here, you can learn how to write a CV, how to complete an application form, how to pass psychometric tests and also how to pass any job interview.

Final Thoughts

We would like to extend our gratitude and thanks to Gavin for taking the time to answer our questions and give us a realistic insight to work in the RAF.