The 1959 Apprentice - video
Ron McConkie said in an email on 2 April 2020:
I was involved in the filming of the horse riding on Weston beach.
The Wing looked back on the record of those who received 3/6 weekly from PSA to pay for horse riding lessons thus we were all rounded up and taken to the stables by truck one sports afternoon for the filming. It was payback time as of the dozen or so identified only about half had actually attended the lessons. What happened to the various sums of 3/6 is a mystery to this day.
The stable found around a dozen horses for us and off we went to the beach in various forms of disarray. On arrival the director wanted a shot of all 12 horses charging towards the camera, this was a disaster as most horses headed back to the stables with their hapless riders just hanging on or off. I was just one of four survivors who had some clue about riding so we were chosen with the riding instructor to make the charge towards the camera.
I think that I am the one on the extreme right of the picture as the horses head towards the camera. This was my first and last film part.
The 1962 Apprentice - video
This video has also been on YouTube for some years. Unlike the 1959 version it doesn’t show any of the 84th entry.
We came across this apprentice recruiting page on the RAF website in 2017. No doubt the content will change over time but it’s interesting to contrast what was on offer when we joined with what a modern apprentice can expect.
The £14700 mentioned is close to £300 per week. That’s about 200 times more than we got when we started back in 1956! Here’s an extract from the letter to parents sent by our Squadron Commander on 27 September 1956 outlining life at Locking. Three of these letters survive and we are grateful to Danny Boon, Adrian Kyte and Wally Galea for letting us include them on their members’ pages under memorabilia:
As you can see we started out at 31/6 per week which is the equivalent to £2000 in 2021 allowing for inflation per year!
The names of the trades available have changed a lot too but it’s the same jobs really, with a few additions, but updated to fit in with work today. There were twenty-two apprenticeship on offer.
Aerospace Systems Operator
Aircraft Technician (Avionics)
Aircraft Technician (Mechanical)
Catering and Hospitality Specialist
Communications Infrastructure Technician
Cyberspace Communication Specialist (formerly ICT Technician)
Flight Operations Assistant
RAF Regiment Gunner
Supply, Storage and Distribution Specialist
Survival Equipment Specialist
General Technician Workshop
Vehicle and Mechanical Equipment Technician
Other videos on YouTube
There are other videos about RAF Apprenticeships here.