Jake Allen, from Kingston Upon Thames, was among the winners of the RAF Apprentice of the Year award in 2020
Why was the offer of an apprenticeship important to you when you joined the RAF?
The offer was important as I was working within the catering industry at the time. As qualifications were hard to come by and time consuming, by joining the RAF I could complete an apprenticeship within a more convenient time frame and learn more appealing skills than the job I was in. Just the chance of seeing places that I wouldn’t necessarily see whilst working in the civilian world was also a massive factor and I am already looking forward to my first four-month detachment to BFSAI later this year.
What does this award mean to you and your family?
This award means a lot to me personally as I am grateful for the recognition of all my hard work that I have done in order to just be nominated for this award, let alone to go on and win it. My family have been very supportive of all my decisions so far during my time in service and a big thank you goes out to them.
What has been the best or most challenging thing about completing an RAF apprenticeship?
The best thing for me has been learning from experienced colleagues who always have had time in abundance for me. I have often gone away and researched certain areas of my trade that I believed I needed to learn more about, however having experienced chefs around me has only aided my case. I see it as a testament to myself that I have been left to get on with tasks throughout my apprenticeship, which shows that I am a capable and competent individual within my field of expertise.
What would you say to young people considering doing an RAF apprenticeship?
I would encourage any young people thinking of joining the RAF and undertaking an apprenticeship to simply go ahead and take the opportunity. It offers so much more than just a qualification for work purposes. It is a recognised qualification in the world of civilian life and will not just serve you during your time in the RAF, but also when leaving the service and later in life.
What are your long-term aspirations for your career in the RAF?
I would like to stay in the RAF for a long and successful career, advancing through the ranks while showcasing a plethora of my personal skills and attributes along the way. Also, in the future, I like to think that I could mentor junior chefs like me, through their apprenticeships.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
During my spare time I am into my fitness and training. I am particularly interested in the nutrition side of things, and I am already looking forward to completing my advanced skills course soon, which will give me a qualification in something that I am passionate about.
For 100 years, the RAF has been producing apprentices. What does it mean to you to be part of this 100-year history?
It means a lot. I personally have never had any family serve in the RAF, so to be the first from our family to serve was a big step for me. However, to achieve what I have during the centenary year of the formation of the RAF makes it that bit extra special. Seeing all the ceremonies and events that were put on during this momentous year was spectacular and of course working at the functions to commemorate RAF 100 was certainly extra rewarding.
To find out more about apprenticeship training at the RAF, visit raf.mod.uk/recruitment/apprenticeships