The RAF has ordered staff to to stop selecting “useless white male pilots” for training courses, a leaked email has revealed.
Squadron Leader Andrew Harwin, who worked in the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre sent an email on January 19, 2021 discussing the boarding process where candidates are chosen to pursue certain training courses.
He wrote: “I noted that the boards have recently been predominantly white male heavy.
“If we don’t have enough BAME and female to board then we need to make the decision to pause boarding and seek more BAME and female from the RAF.
The squadron leader said 'the boards have recently been predominantly white male heavy' in a leaked email
“I don’t really need to see loads of useless white male pilots, let’s get as focused as possible, I am more than happy to reduce boarding if needed to have a balanced BAME/female/male board.”
One RAF source said that the “email clearly demonstrates the endemic culture that was created by the senior leadership to chase ridiculous diversity statistics that were patently unachievable”.
“This culture extended to issuing orders that were illegal,” they told The Telegraph.
The source added that the selection process restricts the career progression of white men
“If the selection board didn’t have any ethnic minorities and women, they were cancelling those boards, which meant the white males who were in the system and were going for the Air Force, were held up effectively because you’re pausing them,” they said.
“If I’m due to be on a board tomorrow, but because I’m white male, and there’s no females and ethnic minorities and they cancel my board, then they are delaying me in the process.”
The source added: “When they do come into the system, they are arriving into the Air Force later. Their commencement of paid employment is being delayed because they’re white males.”
It comes after Group Captain Lizzy Nicholl took over the recruitment department at RAF Cranwell in 2021 but quit over claims the service had paused the recruitment of white men to hit diversity targets.
One RAF source said that the 'email clearly demonstrates the endemic culture that was created by the senior leadership to chase ridiculous diversity statistics that were patently unachievable'
Gp Capt Nicholl accused the RAF of discriminating against 160 white men in its effort to meet the targets.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the outgoing head of the RAF, called Gp Capt Nicholl’s resignation a “regrettable” outcome.
He said: “One of the mistakes we made was that those aspirational goals filtered down into people’s personal objectives in-year which they found almost impossible to meet.
“That put intolerable pressure on them and I’ve apologised to the recruiting and selection organisation.”
He added: “We were doing all we could to tackle this intractable problem, which is the lack of diversity in our service.”
However, RAF sources said Wigsto’s response was a “slap in the face” for the former group captain, who had seemingly lost her job after blowing the whistle on unlawful practices.