Training expansion a WWII triumph
The section within No. 1 Aircraft Depot at Laverton that conducted the first formal technical training in 1935 evolved before the war into Training Depot, which encompassed Armament School, Engineering School and Wireless School. Shortly after the outbreak of war these three schools took on independent status as No. 1 Armament School at Point Cook, No. 1 Engineering School at Ascot Vale and Signal School at Point Cook.
Before the war technical tradesmen in the Air Force were recruited from qualified and experienced civilian fitters.
With World War II came an unprecedented increase in Air Force training rates and by March 1941 new courses were introduced. 1STT had trained 23,647 personnel by the time it was disbanded on December 22, 1945.
No. 1 Engineering School was formed on March 1, 1940, at the Melbourne Showgrounds and 58,695 recruits successfully completed technical training by the time the school was disbanded on May 8, 1946.
To administer this training it established seven Schools of Technical Training. These were No. 1 (Melbourne), No. 2 (Canberra), No. 3 (Sydney), No. 4 (Adelaide), No. 5 (Perth), No. 6 (Hobart) and No. 7 (Geelong).
Thus evolved the wartime scheme of training technical tradesmen: recruit training at one of several recruit depots, basic fitter training at one of the STTs, and trade training at one of several trade training schools.
The main trade training schools were: No. 1 Armament School (Point Cook/Nhill/Hamilton) armament trades; No. 1 Engineering School (Ascot Vale) engine and airframe trades; Radio/Radar School (Richmond/ Maryborough) radar trades; and Signal School (Point Cook) wireless and electrical trades. In addition, the three largest STTs No. 1 (Melbourne), No. 3 (Sydney) and No. 4 (Adelaide) also conducted various trade training courses in addition to basic fitter courses.
In all, upward of 100,000 men and women were trained as technical tradesmen over a five-year period, with the vast majority having had no technical training or experience before joining up.