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‘Stop picking useless white male pilots,’ RAF says

raf pilots

The RAF asked staff to stop hiring ‘unnecessary white pilots’ in a leaked email seen by The Telegraph.

In an email dated January 19, 2021, Squadron Leader Andrew Harwin, who worked at the Officer and Aircrew Selection Center, sent an email to his colleagues in which he wrote: “I have noted that boards have recently been made up mostly of white men.

“If we don’t have enough BAMEs and women to board, we have to make the decision to suspend boarding and seek out more BAMEs and RAF women.

“I don’t really need to see loads of useless white male drivers, let’s focus as much as possible, I’m more than happy to reduce boarding if necessary to have a balanced BAME/female/male chart.”

An RAF source told The Telegraph that ‘the email clearly demonstrates the endemic culture that was created by senior management to chase ridiculous diversity statistics which were patently unachievable’.

“This culture has extended to issuing illegal orders,” they said.

It comes after Group Captain Lizzy Nicholl, who took over the RAF Cranwell Recruiting Service in 2021, resigned after claiming the service had suspended recruitment of white men to meet diversity targets.

Earlier this year it was revealed in a defense select committee that Gp Capt Nicholl had been charged with discriminating against 160 white men in an effort to achieve the objectives.

‘Slap in the face’

In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the outgoing head of the RAF, called Gp Capt Nicholl’s resignation a “regrettable” outcome.

“One of the mistakes we made was that these lofty goals seeped into people’s personal goals over the year, which they found almost impossible to achieve,” he said.

“It put an intolerable pressure on them and I apologized to the recruitment and selection organisation.”

He added: “We were doing everything we could to solve this unsolvable problem, which is the lack of diversity in our service.”

However, RAF sources said Sir Mike’s response was a ‘slap in the face’ for the former group captain, who had apparently lost her job after speaking out against illegal practices.

They said, “Everything we’re told in the RAF is about doing the right thing, but no one in the organization has been held accountable.”

While at the helm of the RAF, Sir Mike pledged to have 40% women and 20% ethnic minority personnel by 2030.

However, of the RAF’s 1,500 pilots at the end of last year, only 30 were women and around 10 were from ethnic minorities.

Less than two per cent of the 8,500 engineers were from an ethnic minority background and six per cent were women, while only three per cent of the entire RAF were from an ethnic minority background.

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