Marine Engineer (Submarines) Undergraduate Apprenticeship Scheme - Royal Navy


Royal Navy

Training Provider:


Monthly wage £2,666.67
40.0 hours per week Days and times to be confirmed
duration: 36 months
start: 31 December 2019
Advanced(level 3)
Engineering Technician (apprenticeship standard)
35 positions available
25 December 2019 (application closing date)
Starting on a salary of over £32,000 rising to over £43,000, you’ll be on a structured career path as a Marine Engineer Technician, starting on a Level 3 Apprenticeship and ultimately leading to a fully funded BEng (Hons) Degree in Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering. You'll travel the world and experience a challenging & varied career.


On joining the Royal Navy Undergraduate Apprentice Scheme Marine Engineer (Submariner) (UGAS(MESM)) you will undergo intensive training so that you can take your place as a crucial member of a close-knit and professional submarine crew. At sea, as a senior engineering technician,

  • You will operate and maintain the nuclear reactor and all of its supporting systems to ensure its safe operation. 
  • You will also be responsible for operating and maintaining the propulsion and ship systems including electrical power generation and distribution systems, vital to the delivery of submarine missions.
  • When the submarine goes into action, you’ll be part of a damage-control and fire-fighting organisation capable of dealing with all submarine emergencies so that the submarine can still fight effectively.
  • In harbour, you will be part of a highly trained team of technicians, maintaining and repairing the complex nuclear systems and support equipment which ensure the continued safe operation of the Submarine.

Your service will also include time at university to build upon your extensive submarine engineering education and gain a BEng(Hons) degree. As a qualified submariner, you’ll be part of an elite fighting force, respected throughout the world.

Future Prospects

You start your military training at HMS Raleigh, Torpoint.  You will then undergo your initial submarine training, which all Submariners, regardless of specialisation complete.  This will then be followed by a move to the Defence School of Marine Engineering in HMS Sultan, Gosport as a probationary Leading Engineering Technician. Completion of the first phase of your technical and nuclear training will be followed by a consolidation phase onboard a Submarine where you will become a qualified Submariner.  You will then return to HMS Sultan to complete your technical and leadership training ahead of taking up a role onboard as a Petty Officer Engineering Technician. If you show the right commitment, skills and academic ability, you will also have the opportunity to complete the Admiralty Interview Board (AiB) process and become a Commissioned Officer. You’ll be selected for promotion on merit, so if you work hard, you can rise through the ranks.

At the end of the scheme you will have the choice to apply to stay in the Royal Navy for 20 years of service (or longer if offered) and continue your career as an engineering technician, seeking further promotions to Chief Petty Officer and Warrant Officer.

If you have been selected to become a Commissioned Officer, start training at Britannia Royal Naval College and forge a career as an Engineering Officer. You can leave the Royal Navy with a BEng(Hons) degree, no student debt and extensive experience of working within the Nuclear Engineering field in a prime position to land a new career in the Defence industry.

Note - Duration of the apprenticeship will depend on apprenticeship level and type.

Reality Check

Your Royal Navy career begins with 10 weeks’ basic training at HMS Raleigh, the Royal Navy’s initial training establishment near Plymouth. The discipline, teamwork, organisational, fire-fighting and weapon-handling skills you’ll learn here will stay with you right through your Royal Navy career. To achieve your best, aim to get yourself as fit as you can before you arrive as the training is intense and physically demanding. Ensure you can swim before you join as you must pass the Naval swimming test. You then progress to basic Submarine training, some of which will be onboard a Submarine. You will learn how the equipment and systems work onboard a Submarine as well as how the crew operates. Dependent upon timings and submarine availability you may complete the final phase of this training and be awarded your ‘Dolphins’ – the mark of a qualified submariner. If not, your submarine qualification will complete after your first phase of engineering training.  This training is conducted at the Defence School of Marine Engineering (DsMarE), HMS Sultan in Gosport.  Here you will study both generic engineering principles and topics such as electrical and mechanical principles, equipment construction and diagnose and repair techniques.  You will also undergo the first phase of your specialised nuclear training covering reactor theory, radiological protection, health physics, materials, chemistry and submarine systems. This includes training within state of the art high fidelity simulators to prepare you for the rigours of operating a Nuclear Reactor at sea.  You will consolidate this first phase of training with a year onboard a Submarine to hone your skills and prepare you for a return to DSMarE to finish your technical and leadership training, before being advanced to Petty Officer Engineering Technician (Submarines) and returning to sea to undertake a sea draft as a fully qualified technician.  On completion of this you will then attend Portsmouth University to gain a BEng(Hons) Engineering degree.  At this point you can choose to continue as a technician within the Submarine Service and look to achieve promotion to Chief Petty Officer and a subsequent role as a Nuclear Propulsion Plant Supervisor, complete a transfer to the Officer corps if you have successfully completed AiB and are selected, or leave the Service having gained an invaluable foundation in engineering and management which furnishes you with a plethora of transferable skills which are highly sought after within the Civilian Sector.  The key benefits of undertaking an Apprenticeship within the Royal Navy are:

  • Be part of a highly regarded, world leading, extremely professional team, operating and maintaining one of the most complex machines ever built.
  • Gain a BEng(Hons) Engineering degree while being paid by the Royal Navy and with the Royal Navy paying all your tuition fees.
  • Guaranteed rapid promotion to Petty Officer providing you meet all your obligations under the scheme.
  • Gain a £5,000 ‘Golden Hello’ bonus on attaining your submariner qualification.
  • Get paid to travel the world, and protect our nation’s interests, every day. 
  • Option to extend your career engagement beyond the initial contract through either the Rating or Officer route to achieve your pension.
  • Earn extremely competitive rates of pay which is amongst the highest in the Royal Navy.
  • Gain transferable skills which are highly sought after by industry, including the opportunity to gain Internationally recognised accreditation through professional engineering bodies.

Have access to a wide range of benefits including, Adventurous Training, and at least six weeks of paid holiday every year.

Skills Required

The Royal Navy will develop your technical and leadership abilities to achieve your potential as both a skilled technician and motivational leader.  It will also provide you with highly sought after, civilian recognised, professional qualifications. With the opportunity to achieve professional accreditation through engineering institutions.

Qualities Required

  • Commitment.
  • Enthusiasm.
  • Common sense.
  • Interest in engineering.
  • Strong teamwork.

Your education and training will be intense, and you must be dedicated to learning and consolidating complex skills quickly. You will need to be able to live and work within the challenging Submarine environment. Serving on board a submarine takes a special type of person, one who thrives on challenge and professionalism.

Qualifications Required

5 GCSEs at grade 4 and above inc maths, Eng Lang and at least one science. PLUS 48 UCAS points from STEM Qualifications (such as A levels or BTEC) in Maths, science or engineering.

You will need to pass a RN recruiting test and must be in a good state of health and fitness. You must be between 18 and 34 years old when you start training and a British Citizen.  British Citizens who are dual nationals must be appropriately security cleared prior to being accepted in to the Submarine Service.  

Training Provided

At the end of your Apprenticeship training you will have achieved:

• Level 3 Engineering Technician Apprenticeship.

Followed by:

• Foundation degree in Marine Engineering

• BEng (Hons) Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. Initially you are offered a limited career with the option to apply to extend to 20 years.

You may have the opportunity to serve beyond this, depending upon what you would like to do and the needs of the Royal Navy.

Apply now

About the employer

Welcome to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). Where careful planning and rigorous teamwork make sure the Royal Navy is equipped with everything it needs to be effective - no matter where in the world it deploys. Wherever. Whenever.

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