With its headquarters in Pretoria, the South African Air Force, or SAAF was established on 1 February 1920 as the air force of the nation. It has seen service during World War II as well as the Korean War. The Air Force also provided infantry support during the “Border War” which involved Angola, Namibia and Rhodesia.

The SAAF is now structured towards peace-keeping efforts in the region, maritime patrol operations and disaster relief. The air force also participates and supports yearly defence and airshows.

SAAF Engineering Apprenticeship Programme

Unlike most private and government organizations offering apprenticeships and bursaries, the Air Force requires prospective apprentices to join the South African National Defence Force, or  SANDF, on a contractual status. This allows the participant to successfully complete the military courses during the initial year of the contract. This is then followed by learnerships and/or studies at a recognised technical college or university and continued service in the SANDF for the life of the contract.

Once the Basic Military Training and Officer Formative Training is successfully completed within the first year, the initial MSDS contract is migrated to the Core Service System contract which runs for 2 years. Participants will start academics at an accredited university.

Career Options

Upon successful completion of their studies, participants will have the opportunity to apply their acquired skills in the field of engineering for the duration of their contract. These engineering fields include Electronic, Mechanical, Electrical  and General Avionic support.

Requirements or Eligibility

Listed below are the requirements to be considered in the SAAF apprentice program:

  • A South African citizen, at least 18 to 22 years of age at the start of the program
  • If with tertiary education, program is open to 26 year olds
  • Certified medically fit by the Surgeon General
  • Must pass psychiatric evaluation as prescribed  by the programme
  • Applicant must come recommended by a selection board
  • N3 certified or Grade 12 with no failing marks in English
  • Grade 12 with Physical Science and Mathematics, NSC no failing marks, or N3 level in a technical study
  • For university or college students – N4 certified with 60% minimum in a technical specialisation; passed English subjects

How to Apply

If you meet the basic requirements to join the program send an updated CV to:

SA Air Force Headquarters
Air Command
(Directorate Human Resource Services)
Recruitment Office
Private Bag X199

Your CV should include the following:

  • Your full name
  • Telephone number
  • Postal address
  • ID number
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Marital Status
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Contact details
  • Current tertiary level
  • Copy of ID book
  • Subjects taken, symbols and SG/HG/other

The SAAF Recruitment Office reviews thousands of applications each year and it’s best to send your CV even if program is closed for the year instead of waiting for the next advert to appear. They should keep your CV on file for the next round of recruitment.

Contact Information

For further enquiries about the program, the Recruitment Office can be reached at:

Phone: (012) 312 2148 / 2609

Fax: (012) 312 2138

Department of Defence Career website: www.careers.mil.za

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