The RAF Trenchard Group – Inspiring the Next Generation

RAF Inspire

The Royal Air Force centenary provided unprecedented opportunities to inspire the next generation. Following the success of the RAF 100 youth engagement programme, that reached 2 million young people throughout the UK, RAF INSPIRE will develop a sustainable legacy for the Next Generation Air Force.

The RAF Trenchard Group

At the heart of RAF Inspire – and taking its inspiration from the RAF’s founder – the RAF Trenchard Group has been formed to take forward the RAF 100 INSPIRE legacy for the Next Generation Air Force. The Group will harness youth engagement, encourage ideas and innovation and deliver world-class educational pathways for the RAF and the wider aviation, space, and cyber industries.

The RAF Trenchard Group integrates 3 elements – Youth Engagement, Ideas and Innovation and Educational Pathways – which, collectively, will inspire, excite, educate and train the current and Next Generation Air Force. It will be an evolving construct that moves with the times and adjusts to achieve continuous improvement and looks ahead to future workforce requirements for the sector. Inter-weaving between and across the 3 elements will be 5 cross-cutting themes:  Air Power (Command and Control), Space, Cyber, Gaming (VR, AR, AI and Simulation) and Disruptive innovations.

Youth Engagement

The RAF aims to reach and engage with 1 million young people each year for the next 10 years through STEM and inspirational aerospace opportunities (aka 10 in 10).  We will continue to inspire young people towards exciting careers across aviation, space, and cyber sectors. By working with industry to provide clear pathways into further education and employment, the RAF will support the Government’s prosperity agenda, promote social mobility and help to close the national skills gap of STEM-inspired and qualified young people.

To achieve this, the RAF will co-create networks of like-minded partners across the UK, including local government, industry, academia and professional bodies to share best practice and identify opportunities to pool resources. Working together, we will go beyond the traditional Flying Scholarships we offer and design future scholarships to cover a range of disciplines such as space and cyber that are needed to both build our Next Generation Air Force and support the wider UK aviation and defence industries. At the forefront of youth engagement are our RAF Air Cadets, providing unique reach and opportunity for over 40,000 young people across the UK. In recent years, the Air Cadets have modernised their syllabus to promote STEM activity, including the introduction of STEM and Aerospace Camps, as well as cyber & space training.  

Ideas and Innovation

Our enduring operational success depends on us generating and developing innovative ideas and thinking at every level throughout the Whole Force. The RAF Centre for Air and Space Power Studies (RAFCASPS) will drive the ideas and innovation elements of the Trenchard Group by sponsoring innovation initiatives and nurturing academic engagement through Fellowships and placements. They will do so in collaboration with the Tedder Academy, the Talent Management Scheme, Career Management, 22 Group, the Directorate of Defence Studies, Defence Academy and links with the Freeman Air & Space Institute – promoting the principles of air, space and cyber power.

Educational Pathways

Concurrently, the RAF is transforming its training through Programme SOCRATES, which will provide state-of-the-art learning opportunities in new, modern environments delivering trained personnel to the front-line quicker.  The Robson Academy of Resilience and the Tedder Academy of Leadership are already focussing on the mental, physical, spiritual and social wellbeing of our people and the command, leadership and management aptitude necessary to successfully deliver on operations.  We will also deliver a single gateway for all officers and airmen at the Service’s spiritual home, RAF Cranwell, through Programme PORTAL.

Through innovative public-private partnership, the RAF is supporting the Aviation Skills Partnership and is working with industry and educational bodies to develop new academies and work-ready training pathways across the UK that will offer young people a route to skilled jobs in engineering and aerospace, whatever their background and experience.  We will develop our talent further through higher education schemes such as the CAS Fellowships, the Executive Masters Scheme, Advanced Pre-employment Training, and the University Short Course Programme. Together, they improve our intellectual edge in the development of the conceptual and moral component of fighting power.

A legacy fit for the future

The RAF Trenchard Group represents an unparalleled opportunity and as a cornerstone of RAF Inspire – the legacy from our first 100 years that positions the Royal Air Force at the forefront of innovation across the domains for generations to come.

Key Messages

Following the success of the RAF 100 youth engagement programme, that reached 2 million young people throughout the UK, RAF INSPIRE will develop a sustainable legacy for the Next Generation Air Force.

At the heart of RAF Inspire – and taking its inspiration from the RAF’s founder – the RAF Trenchard Group has been formed to take forward the RAF 100 INSPIRE legacy for the Next Generation Air Force. The Group will harness youth engagement, encourage ideas and innovation and deliver world-class educational pathways for the RAF and the wider aviation, space, and cyber industries.

The RAF aims to reach and engage with 1 million young people each year for the next 10 years through STEM and inspirational aerospace opportunities (aka 10 in 10). 

We will continue to inspire young people towards exciting careers across aviation, space, and cyber sectors. By doing so, the RAF will support the Government’s prosperity agenda, promote social mobility and help to close the national skills gap of STEM-inspired and qualified young people.

At the forefront of youth engagement are our RAF Air Cadets, providing unique reach and opportunity for over 40,000 young people across the UK.  

The RAF Centre for Air and Space Power Studies (RAFCASPS) will drive the ideas and innovation elements of the Trenchard Group by sponsoring innovation initiatives and nurturing academic engagement through Fellowships and placements.

The RAF is transforming its training through Programme SOCRATES, which will provide state-of-the-art learning opportunities in new, modern environments delivering trained personnel to the front-line quicker. 

The Robson Academy of Resilience and the Tedder Academy of Leadership are already focussing on the mental, physical, spiritual and social wellbeing of our people and the command, leadership and management aptitude necessary to successfully deliver on operations.  We will also deliver a single gateway for all officers and airmen at the Service’s spiritual home, RAF Cranwell, through Programme PORTAL.

Top image: RAF F-35B Lightning (II) from 617 Squadron based at RAF Marham. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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