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Apprenticeship training for Navy recruits

HMS Raleigh
7 March 2017
Recruits joining today’s Royal Navy can earn a range of civilian qualifications with around 2,500 sailors and Royal Marines completing an apprenticeship each year.

As the UK highlights the importance of workplace training schemes for National Apprenticeship Week, every new recruit joining the Royal Navy is enrolled on an apprenticeship in their chosen discipline.

Multiple apprenticeship programmes across many different occupational sectors, with Public Services, Professional Cookery, Warehousing and Storage, Hospitality and Business Administration are delivered at HMS Raleigh.

Recruits opting for careers in other branches such as engineering complete their qualifications at other training establishments in the UK.

I think it’s really important to have qualifications as well as job experience.

Trainee Logistician (Supply Chain) Oliver Dodd

HMS Raleigh also provides apprenticeship training to new members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service.

Trainee Logistician (Supply Chain) Oliver Dodd, has just started his professional training within the Defence Maritime Logistics School at the Torpoint base.  He has been enrolled on a Warehousing and Storage apprenticeship programme.

The 19-year-old, from Nottingham, said:  “I think it’s really good that the apprenticeship can be fitted in alongside our professional course and that you actually get something recognisable in the civilian world to enable you to get another job.

“I think it’s really important to have qualifications as well as job experience.  Here, what you’d achieve in two to three years as a civilian, you achieve in two to three months so it really benefits us.”

Trainee Writer Sophie Duffy, aged 28 from Littlehampton, studied for a degree in sports and exercise science and then worked in the fitness industry before opting for life in the Service.

Sophie said:  “I joined the Royal Navy for a better career, the sport and the adventurous training. 

“I’ve always wanted to join the Forces, but it was never the right time before. I like the militarisation and being able to work through the ranks. 

“With my degree I could have joined directly as an Officer, but I wanted to start at the bottom and work my way up.

“I guess you do that as an Officer too, but I wanted to literally experience the Navy from being an Able Rate and upwards.  There’s still the potential for me to become an Officer in the future.”

Sophie is now completing a Business Administration apprenticeship as part of her 16-week specialist training.

She said:  “I had in mind at one point that I’d eventually like to transfer to become a physical training instructor, but now I think I’d been happy to stay in the Writers branch. 

“It’s good to be enrolled on the apprenticeship scheme.  It means that we’ll get something more out of the Royal Navy and have civilian qualifications, which would then be recognised if, for example, we had to leave earlier than we wanted. 

“The training so far has been good and the instructor is great at delivering it and makes it all very interesting.  It coincides with what we are doing professionally anyway so it all makes sense.”

Recruits opting for careers in other branches such as engineering, complete their qualifications at other training establishments in the UK.  

The apprenticeship programme is managed and assessed on behalf of the Royal Navy by Babcock.

The Royal Navy also offers sailors the chance to complete advanced level apprenticeships and even degree qualifications as their careers progress and have recently introduced an Accelerated Apprentice scheme for recruits with relevant prior qualifications to become engineers (marine, weapon and air), with the offer of fast-track promotion.

Cdr Sarah Johns, Royal Navy Staff Officer Education and Apprenticeships, said:  “The added benefit of completing an apprenticeship with the Royal Navy is that we offer a competitive salary so sailors can earn while serving their country and gain valuable civilian recognition of their skills and experience. 

“They can also be assured that they are making a difference in the world. 

“All our programmes are fully funded and individuals have the chance to shape their own career and in certain areas can study up to degree level.”

Further information on careers and the apprenticeship programme can be found on the Royal Navy website at

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