The RAF Division (RAFD) has the largest throughput of any department of the college, training some 1600 students per year. Led by a group captain, it employs around 30 military staff, eight civil servants and seven Serco administrative staff. The division’s mission is to deliver the Intermediate Officer Development Programme (IODP), which comprises all phase 3 generic education for RAF officers; both regular and reservist, selected executive Warrant Officers, HQ Air Civil Servants and international officers as part of the defence Intermediate Command and Staff Course (ICSC).
The IODP is delivered in 5 phases by a single body of directing staff, led by three wing commanders, using a blend of pre/post-residential distance learning and residential courses, all supported by a dedicated online learning capability hosted on the Defence Learning Environment (DLE). This blend promotes the RAF’s professional military development (air) concept of through-life education for its officers. In addition to IODP, the RAFD delivers the RAF’s Future Commanders’ Study Periods (FCSP), four 1-week courses per academic year and Senior Executives’ Partners’ Seminars (SEPS), two 2-day courses per academic year with 15 and 10 candidates respectively in order to prepare officers and their partners who have been selected for higher command and senior executive positions.
The 5-phase Intermediate Officers' Development Programme (IODP) is designed to prepare RAF officers for the current and next stage of their career, through the delivery of generic education, rather than role-specific training by allowing them to step outside their professional specialisations.
IOD 1 to 3 replace the Junior Officers' Development Programme (JODP); completion of IOD 3 is a pre-requisite for promotion to squadron leader, for all officers except the specialist branches. IOD 4 and 5 are for squadron leaders, both regular and reservist, and selected executive warrant officers; successful completion of IOD 5 is a pre-requisite to be considered for promotion to wing commander and replace the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Air) (ICSC(A)).
The IODP syllabus concentrates on three academic threads, developing command and staff skills through the study of air and space power (including air warfare and defence studies), the strategic context and command, leadership and management, (including communication, ethics, personnel management and functional business skills). The courses are designed to enhance officers’ managerial and staff skills to enhance their performance in likely future appointments and their contribution to the operational output of the RAF.
As an officer moves up through the IODP, the cognitive level increases (of complexity, warfare etc), and changing context adapts (strategic, joint, multinational) in which these common threads apply, evolves to best reflect the likely environment in which that officer might be employed.
Each of the 5 phases of IODP comprises a pre-residential online learning element and a residential element, with officers expected to complete 18-24 months of service between each of the residential elements. Enrolment on to IOD 4 only occurs for officers on promotion to squadron leader or for warrant officers selected for the executive (titan) stream. The assessment of student performance on IOD 1 to 4 is formative in nature, as this feeds their ongoing professional development. The final phase, IOD 5 comprises both formative and summative assessment and the students receive a Student End of Programme Report (SEPR) upon completion of IOD 5’s residential element.