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Royal Air Force to kickstart Aerospace career

  1. Jan 1, 2012 #1
    I'm about to start my final year of Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering here is South Africa but as far as my options are for jobs in the Aeronautical field (which I'm interested in) they are limited to manufacturing and maintenance.

    Because of this I'm thinking of joining the RAF after my Bachelors/Honours and studying a Masters degree part time whilst there to try and make a break into the UK job market.

    Will this be beneficial at all? Do employers in the UK look at military service at all or would my time be wasted in this endeavour?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2012 #2
    I can't speak for the UK but in the US military service is DEFINITELY highly praised especially when looking for a job as it shows discipline, dedication, and sacrifice, throw a master's on top and you're a shoe in. Being in the Air Force before working in the Aeronautical field is PERFECT. It shows you know what you're working with and have first hand experience with how aircraft handle (assuming you'd be a pilot in the RAF). And as I said before a master's in engineering would be phenomenal in addition. Good luck!
  4. Jan 3, 2012 #3
    It probably helps too if you want to work in defense industry
  5. Jan 3, 2012 #4
    In the UK, I think you'd be better studying for the MSc full time! We don't have a romantic view of the military in the UK - RAF pilots might be able to fly planes but it doesn't mean they know anything about designing them - that's what boffins are for. Also, given the recession, you should look further afield than the UK for jobs, maybe Canada or Australia?
  6. Jan 3, 2012 #5
    I was thinking of joining the RAF as an Engineering Officer not a pilot so that I could use my undergraduate engineering degree?

    The reason I looked at the UK is because of my EU citizenship which I'd have thought would make it more accessible than say Canada or Australia.
  7. Jan 4, 2012 #6
    According to this, you need an MSc to get in!


    Also, wouldn't a RAF job "just" be maintenance? That might be an interesting job - but you say you don't want that. If you want to actually design aircraft, or do fundamental research on aeronautical structures, than full time MSc followed by full time PhD, then searching the world for research jobs at university or in industry would surely be the way to go.

    That sounds like more fun to me. You could have the RAF as a fallback plan, if you can't get the loans/funding to do something more interesting...

    Aim high! The sky's the limit. Sorry couldn't resist :)
  8. Jan 4, 2012 #7
    If you are interested in aerospace you don't want to be looking at Australia! Most of our domestic aerospace grads end up either moving overseas if they want to work in aerospace or just find jobs in different fields. If memory serves me correct we are the only country in G20 without a space program. So in short, don't be looking at Australia if you want to work in aerospace (or manufacturing, or r+d...).

    Just like the UK we also don't have a romanticised view of the military here. If you want to work in defence related industries then experience in the defence force is a perfect entry point. If you want to work anywhere else then there may be other things that will assist you better in your career progression.
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