Introduction: RN Submariner - Undergraduate Apprenticeship Scheme (UGAS)


War Hero
UPDATED 06/08/2018

The first iteration of the Royal Navy Undergraduate Apprenticeship Scheme (UGAS) for ET(MESM) was introduced in 2015. The scheme was then expanded to include ET(WESM)specialisations. A single application was then introduced to replace separate MESM/WESM options with UGAS candidates being streamed MESM or WESM during Phase II of training. Further amendments have since been made to support the main objective which continues to be mitigating shortfalls of MESM and WESM operators/ maintainers at the Petty Officer level.

UGAS offers an accelerated training route to Petty Officer Engineering Technician (POET) and is aimed at recruits with a minimum of Level 3 STEM qualifications who will join on an 8.5 year tailored career (TC). They start as probationary Leading Hands and undertake approximately 3.5 years of intensive training to qualify as POETs before serving at sea as qualified POET (MESM or WESM) operators/maintainers for a minimum of 3 years. Their TC finishes with a 1 year in-service university course that will gain candidates a BEng (Hons) degree.

The main characteristics of the scheme, are:

An 8.5 year initial engagement with the option to extend, A paid in-service BEng(Hons) engineering degree (includes 1 year at university)Joining as probationary Leading Hand with current salary of £31,166.

Confirmed in the substantive rank of LET after approx. 18 mths and POET after approx. 4 years, subject to meeting the schemes’ criteria,

Career choices at the end of the scheme including an option to apply for a career extension to 20 years (ES2), MESM or WESM Officer (if AIB passed and selected) or leave the RN with a degree and valuable technician experience.

Applicability All eligible civilian applicants applying to join as ET(MESM) or ET(WESM).

Standard eligibility criteria for ET(MESM/WESM) will apply, with the following additions and exceptions:

Age on entry of 18 – 34 years old.

Meet academic eligibility – in summary:

5x GCSE at grade A*- C inc Maths, English and at least one science based subject.

At least 48 UCAS points from a range of Level 3 qualifications in STEM subjects (BTEC, A levels, Highers etc).

Full details in post #2

Currently MESM UGAS is awarded – BEng(Hons) Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, WESM UGAS BEng(Hons) Electronic Systems Engineering.
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War Hero

The required academic qualification entry requirements for UGAS SM entry. The criteria detailed is valid for all applicants irrespective of which branch they aspire to be eventually streamed as (MESM or WESM).

To be considered for UGAS an applicant must:

  • meet the Level 2 academic standard
  • meet the Level 3 academic and/or vocational standard;

Level 2 qualifications

Requirement: 5x GCSE at Grade C /Level 4 or better, including:

English Language
At least one Science based subject.

Acceptable GCSE Equivalents:

SCE Ordinary Grade, grade C or above
SCE Standard Grade (Credit)
Scottish National 5 Grade C or above
Irish Leaving Certificate Ordinary Level Grade C or above

Note - Functional Skills will not be accepted in lieu of GCSEs.

Level 3 Qualifications – either:

  • Minimum 48 UCAS points from A/A2 Levels, Highers/Advanced Highers (at a grade equivalent to 21 UCAS points or more) in MATHS and any combination of the following subjects:
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Further/Advanced Maths
  • Physical Science
  • Electronics
  • Engineering

  • OR

  • Minimum 48 UCAS points from one Level 3 Vocational Qualification (BTEC, City and Guilds etc) in an engineering discipline which meets the following criteria:

  • Guided Learning Hours - consists of no less than 720 hours of GLH. This includes:
  • Level 3 Diploma (minimum grade MP)
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma (minimum grade PPP)
  • Scottish National Certificate from Group C (Pass)
  • Note – the following qualifications are not accepted under this option:
  • Subsidiary Diploma
  • 90 Credit Diploma
  • Certificates
  • Extended Certificates
  • Subject - acceptable engineering disciplines are:
  • Engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical/electronic engineering
  • Manufacturing engineering
  • Operations and maintenance engineering
  • Aeronautical engineering

  • OR

  • Minimum 48 UCAS points from a Combination of A/A2 Level Maths and STEM vocational courses from the subject list above in para 7 b. (at a grade equivalent to 21 UCAS points or more). The following vocational qualifications can be accepted under this option:
  • Extended Diploma – minimum grade PPP
  • Diploma – minimum grade MP
  • Subsidiary Diploma – minimum grade M
  • 90 Credit Diploma – minimum grade PP
  • Certificate – minimum grade D
  • Extended Certificate – minimum grade M
Other Qualifications

  • Level 4 or higher qualifications. Level 4 or higher qualifications in, Engineering, Electronics, or Maths and a physical science are acceptable in lieu of level 3 qualifications and include:


Foundation Degree

BSc, BEng degrees

Alternate qualifications. Any applicant presenting a qualification not listed in this RI but clearly of an engineering discipline and at Level 3 or above may be considered on an individual basis with enquiries directed to the ATA SM.
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War Hero
Looks like it's a return to the olden days when many Tiffs had higher educational qualifications than most Officers entering with minimum requirements.
As an ex POREL(A) I meet or exceed these educational requirements, as a 70 year old when can I sign on?


War Hero
Book Reviewer
If I read this correctly:
A successful candidate signs on and after intensive training does 3 years at sea as a Cat B watchkeeper, finishes their degree and after 8 years is free to leave as a highly qualified Nuclear engineer, without any student debt
Or am I being cynical?


Lantern Swinger
My friend recently had his interview for this and is just waiting to hear back from them. Seems like a really good opportunity.