Can anyone offer their opinions on applying to join the Royal Navy as an Weapons Engineering Officer versus Marine Engineering (Submariner) Undergraduate Apprenticeship Scheme (UGAS (MESM)). I am eligible for both (this has been confirmed).

I come from an apprenticeship background, starting back in 2007. I have worked as a manufacturing team leader for one year and a manufacturing engineer for 3+ years (post university).

I enjoy both the technical support aspect of my job and the guiding/training of manufacturing staff. I also really enjoy learning/studying.

I see two great career opportunities one being a more leadership role and the other being a more technical role (both pay well). I know i can take on both challenges. All i'm am asking is what others would do in my position.

What are your thoughts? Should i go on for officer because I've worked hard to gain my engineering degree or stay technical because my experience.

Kind Regards


War Hero
Firstly, don't add your name to your signature block. It's unnecessary and allows you to be easily indentified by people who’s motives may not be pure.

Secondly, have you considered the RNWUGAS (Royal Navy Weapon Engineer Submarine Under Graduate Apprentice scheme)? Your Careers Advisor should be aware of the scheme, but if they aren’t then they can find the details in RNTM 126/16. It is basically a similar scheme to the MESM UGAS in that it is intended to accelerate the advancement of specifically recruited ET(WESM) candidates to POET(WESM), providing the opportunity to gain an in-service BEng(Hons). While the RNTM doesn’t specifically mention it, it is implied that the potential for appearance at AIB as a WESM Officer candidate is open to successful candidates.

Of course you say that you already have your engineering degree, which negates one of the benefits of both schemes.

Which course you should follow, Officer or Undergraduate Apprenticeship, is a question only you can answer. I can say with some authority as a WESM Officer who commissioned from the ranks having previously been an equipment maintainer, that they are very different roles. Both require a different skillset and bring their own challenges and rewards. I enjoyed my time as a maintainer, but was looking for a fresh challenge and have enjoyed the last 4 years immensely too. Had I attempted to do it 10 years earlier though I suspect my experience would’ve have been different.

Being an Officer means not being a ‘hands-on’ engineer, but the leadership and management challenges that it brings can be every bit as satisfying. The question is, which role do you think you will get the most out of?
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Thank you very much for your response.

I have decided to apply for Weapons Engineer Officer (submariner), i have enjoyed the technical aspect of my career so far but I've always had the aspiration to eventually lead.

I have been reading that the RN are struggling to recruit young submariners due to the big switch in lifestyle. I may not be the youngest (27) but i want to help fill that void.