ISBN 0 642 26509 7
For forty-five years, from 1948 until 1993, the Royal Australian Air Force conducted an apprentice training scheme to provide skilled tradesmen for its engineering and radio musterings. The many thousands of youths who passed through the scheme comprised not just Australians but Pakistanis and New Zealanders too, and in its later years included girls as well as boys. For such a technical service as the RAAF, apprentice training was a key element in providing a solid foundation for supporting and maintaining an increasingly complex range of aircraft and other euipment systems.
This book provides a documented record of the scheme’s origins, rationale and development. It also traces the debate which gave recognition to the service’s changing requirements and ultimately led to the termination of apprentice training. Here is recounted not just the story of the two technical trade streams of the scheme, but the short-lived clerical Equivalent—the Junior Equipment and Administrative Trainee Scheme) and the later but equally short-lived Technologist Apprentice Scheme, as well as the crucial connections between early apprentices and the Diploma (later Engineer) Cadet Squadron which was established to provide tertiary-trained technical officers.
In addition to providing an absorbing narrative and analysis of the various training schemes, the book contains a detailed listing of the more than 7000 graduates from them: nearly 5000 engineering apprentices, nearly 1100 radio apprentices, 255 junior trainees, 372 Technologist Apprentices, and just over 600 DCS/ECS members.