The RAF Boy Entrant scheme ran from the mid 1930s to late 1965 where boys joined the RAF between the ages of 15 to 171⁄2 and then underwent training in various occupations (or Trades) which fitted them for employment in the Royal Air Force. Training was suspended during WWII but recommenced in May 1947. The final Entry was the 51st who commenced training in January 1964 and graduated in July 1966.
Training was undertaken at a variety of RAF Stations including RAF Cosford, RAF Yatesbury, RAF Compton Bassett, RAF St Athan, RAF Hereford and RAF Locking. Training took 18 months and included not just the trade and basic training but also more general academic education. After their 18 months of training they then moved to regular RAF duty stations and commenced employment in the trade they had trained on.
The Boy Entrants scheme provided training and a focus in life for boys that often had a poor education. In the early post WWII years, this education had probably been severely disrupted by the war itself.
Thanks to the RAF’s experience with aptitude tests and the knowledge that lack of education did not mean lack of intelligence, the RAF was able to train suitable candidates in appropriate trades and created the backbone of the RAF’s technical services during the years dominated by transient National Servicemen.
The Boy Entrant scheme ran alongside another Boys scheme called the RAF Apprentices who undertook 3 years training but run on similar lines.