The primary function of No 1 Recruit Training Unit (1RTU) is to prepare recruits, newly enlisted Air Force men and women, for military service. Recruit training involves the transformation of civilians into aviators who have basic military knowledge to become effective members of the Air Force team. This transformation through training is conducted over a period 10.6 weeks and culminates in a graduation parade.

The Air Force, as with Army and Navy, has a workforce that comprises of officers and non-commissioned officers. Every non-commissioned officer begins their Air Force career at 1RTU. In terms of how the Air Force workforce is structured this means that 1RTU is responsible for starting the careers of two-thirds of the Air Force, the remainder being made up of officers who undertake their training at Officer Training School.

Teamwork, self-discipline, 'esprit de corps' and the development of respect for the values of the Defence Force play a vital role in the training at 1RTU. Directly as a result of this, the instructional staff at 1RTU, which includes Military Skills Instructors (MSIs), Airfield Defence Guards (ADGs) and Physical Training Instructors (PTIs), as well as other support staff employed at the unit, must embody all the aspects of Defence Force values – Service, Courage, Respect, Integrity and Excellence.

The 1RTU philosophy of training is to take the qualities already possessed by the recruits and build on them through instruction, 'learning by doing', coaching and mentoring. Putting in an honest effort, making and learning from mistakes, and doing better next time are essential features of the training process.

The key challenge faced at 1RTU is to safely and effectively train recruits and Military Skills Instructors (MSIs) in the appropriate skills and attitudes, and to achieve high standards while maintaining and enhancing their motivation by employing a 'fair but firm' approach.

The quality of instructional staff at 1RTU is a key to graduating aviators that the Air Force can be proud of. One of the aspects that enhance our training is that our MSIs come from a range of backgrounds. Any non-commissioned officer may apply to become an MSI and if successful, they are then able to be considered for a posting to 1RTU as an instructor. As a result, our pool of MSIs has a range of diversity across rank, mustering (trade), age, gender and background. This diversity offers recruits the very best training opportunities and exposure to a wide range of experiences.

Although subject to recruiting targets, 1RTU can train up to 1200 recruits per year. Recruits are delivered training in very modern facilities that were built in 2008 incorporating sustainable and aesthetic designs that still have a military character. In addition to a classroom environment, recruits will be exposed to field conditions in our Ground Defence Training Area and will also undertake live weapon qualification on a military firing range.

Recruit training is really about delivering members to the Air Force who have mastered basic military knowledge and skills. Recruits graduate with the rank of aircraftsman or aircraftswomen but with very few exceptions this is only the start of their training. Following successful completion of recruit training, most graduates go on to their next course of training but they all receive their first taste of Air Force at 1RTU.