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Fast-track engineering scheme extended to WE and AE branches

5 February 2018
The initiative to rapidly inject a new generation of leading hands into the engineering arm of the Royal Navy is being widened.

Under a pilot scheme, a single class of marine engineers undertook a roughly two-year programme of sea and shore-based training as probationary LET(ME)s, 'fast-fowarding' past the bottom rung on the career ladder.

It's been one of several schemes and initiatives introduced to deal with gaps at the POET and LET levels, above all, at sea.

Now the 'accelerated apprentice' is being extended beyond marine engineer to embrace weapons and air engineers as well. In November HMS Raleigh welcomed its first LET(WE) and LAET fast-trackers... as well as the second entry of ME accelerated apprentices.

Differing from the entry levels required for ETs, all AAs must hold Level 3 (A Level/BTEC Diploma) STEM qualifications across the Maths, Physics and Engineering disciplines.

All AAs will undertake training which builds upon their previous education, allowing them to progress quickly through the training pipeline. It has also introduced the need to deliver a sea training phase for the ME and WE trainees where classes will embark for a specialist sea training period of approximately four months.

The programme is challenging but already has its rewards. I learned loads and the ship really supported us. We are all really looking forward to completing LET qualifying course at Sultan and returning to the sea in future.

LET(ME) Lewis Barker

The AA scheme will get us LETs more quickly. It is also enabling Naval recruiting to make a very competitive offer to college leavers which will sit between the current entry path of degree for Engineer Officer or no specific qualifications for ETs - a mis-match which has been made more obvious over the past five years with the introduction of revised mandatory school leaving ages across the UK.

Perhaps not surprisingly a few cries of "Ah, Fisgard Squadron!" have been heard. For those holding on to that hope there is bad news - these are accelerated LETs, not artificers.

Artificers undertook a different training pipeline to enter the Fleet with the artificer skills set. All of the AAs will enter the Fleet with the same skill set as fellow LETs progressing through the relevant regular career path or fast-track scheme.

The pathfinder class of MEs have just completed a spell with HMS Albion which included BOST.

"They have really got stuck in and done well integrating whilst undertaking an accelerated task book requirement," said training officer CPO Jonathon Maund. "The ship's programme was fast paced and the pathfinders were able to experience BOST so early in their training which will be a great asset to their naval knowledge."

"We had to really hit the ground running on Albion," said Probationary LET(ME) Lewis 'Ronnie' Barker.

"The programme is challenging but already has its rewards. I learned loads and the ship really supported us. We are all really looking forward to completing LET qualifying course at Sultan and returning to the sea in future."

Upon completion of their course, the now substantive LET(ME)s will proceed to their first LET sea assignments, easing the strain on the LET cadres.

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