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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
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?


At a brief from RASM on Tuesday he confirmed that there would be a return of service (although it has not yet been confirmed what it is).


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.

the OG

Hi im 17 and finishing my a levels this year, ive applied for this and have my recruitment test next week, will there be questions in the interview about the navy such as ships, guns, etc etc? and if they do expect me to know about these things, what exactly will they want me to know?


War Hero
Hi im 17 and finishing my a levels this year, ive applied for this and have my recruitment test next week, will there be questions in the interview about the navy such as ships, guns, etc etc? and if they do expect me to know about these things, what exactly will they want me to know?
Most of the formal interview covers a topic you know all about. You.

You are expected to know about your selection procedure and ideally what your job will entail, where you complete initial training, how long it's for, what the initial training involves. They'll ask about your role training location and duration, a little bit about what you know of nuclear propulsion, where you'll most likely be based, how long the contract is for, how quickly you can leave if you don't like it. They will also ask about the fitness requirements to join, what the swimming assessment involves, what PRNC is and what your wages will be.

The interview will initially focus on you and your upbringing, partner, family, education, fitness regime, hobbies, interests, work experience and suchlike. A general knowledge of the RN and its major components, types of ship & submarine is recommended - we are not looking for a standard Engineering Technician, we seek to recruit exceptional candidates under this scheme. Leadership potential and experience would also serve you well.

It's definitely worth calling into your AFCO and asking if you can have a copy of the Navy News so you can gain an insight as to what the Navy does and one little gem is the Defence in the Media MOD daily blog, which is an excellent insight into what is going on in the Armed Forces in general:

Best of luck - preparation is key.

the OG

I had my interview today which lasted about 1 hour 20 minutes, it was broken down into the usual topics such as family, work, education, motivation and knowledge about the course. I passed and now have to do medical and fitness test. I do have one question which hasnt really been cleared up and its, what is the exact job title at the end of the course? i know its petty officer engineering technician rank but not sure what the job title is, hope someone can help


War Hero
ET(MESM) is what you join as The NUGAS bit is the scheme you are on.

At the end of it, you'll be a PO ET(MESM) if you achieve your goal.

A Behm

I'm interested in applying for this, but don't meet the standard educational requirements. Do you know how long it usually takes to apply for a education waiver/ to apply with qualifications that aren't on the list?
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