Royal Australian Air Force Apprenticeship Scheme
1948 to 1993
21st January 1947
I refer to your letter of 28th October forwarding the proposals of the Air Board for the introduction in the R.A.A.F. of a system of apprenticeship training similar to that in force in the R.A.F.
The scheme as been examined by the Defence Committee which had before it a comparative statement (copy attached) prepared by the Principal Administrative Officers Committee (Personnel) showing the conditions of service under the existing Army apprenticeship training scheme and the proposed R.A.A.F. scheme.
(It was ascertained that the R.A.N. did not propose to institute a scheme for training tradesmen.)
The R.A.A.F. proposal differs considerably from the Army scheme which is based on civil practice, but the Defence Committee observed that the R.A.A.F. scheme is designed to meet R.A.A.F. requirements which are peculiar to all air forces and aviation generally and is similar to the scheme which has been in operation in the Royal Air Force for some 25-30 years.
The Committee recommended that the scheme be concurred in in principle but that an endeavour be made to ensure uniformity as far as possible in regard to rates of pay and provision of rations and quarters for A.M.F and R.A.A.F. apprentices.
On the basis of the conclusions of the Defence Committee, I concur, in principle, with the introduction of the proposed apprenticeship training scheme in the R.A.A.F., but consider that an endeavour should be made through the Inter-departmental Committee now considering the pay code for the postwar Permanent Forces, to obtain uniformity as far as possible in regard to rates of pay and conditions of service for A.M.F. and R.A.A.F. apprentices.
I am arranging for this aspect to be brought to the notice of the Department of the Treasury.
And so on the 2nd of February 1948 the RAAF Apprentice Training Scheme and its first intake (the Anzacs) came into being. For 45 years hence, RAAF Base Wagga would host a multitude of fresh faced 15 and 16 years olds - Sprogs - learning, growing up, becoming some of the best engineers in the world but most importantly forming lifelong friendships.
Time marched on, circumstances changed, and March 1993 saw the graduation of number 46 Intake marking the end of the RAAF Apprentice Training Scheme. Modern aircraft with their more reliable and self diagnostic systems and a maintenance philosophy of 'Repair by Replacement' saw the end of the RAAF Apprentice. However in 45 years of operation the scheme had produced over 5000 graduates.
This website serves to honour those men and women who served their country and proudly call themselves Ex-Appies.
Promulgation of Letter No. S.S.56 to Minister for Air from Minister for Defence giving Ministerial and Government approval on 21st January 1947.