Introduction: RN Submariner - Undergraduate Apprenticeship Scheme (UGAS)

NUGAT

Midshipman
That's excellent Ninja, thank you for clarifying the issue and so quickly as well.

Do those who complete the UGAS TC and go for their officer commission, get to choose which part of the RN to be an officer in afterwards or is it expected/required to re-join Submarines?

If one chooses instead to depart from the RN upon finishing the TC, is there a known upper-age limit for re-joining that one needs to be aware of and do those who seek to re-join, need to join the exact same branch they were originally in? (After all that fishy ME stuff, it could be fun to be an Engineering CIS puff :D)

Third, is there a bar to joining UGAS, if the applicant is a dual-national with another European country? As the RN page only says "You must be a British national", but it doesn't say you must "only" be one.

To what extent does one physically attend a uni campus? I assume all the qualifications are just taken onboard or at a shore base.

If you extend your career without commissioning, does that simply mean you continue as a POET where you left off and then finally, if you're in long enough, become a CPOET?

I'm sorry for the many questions. But I'm so eager to know all I can about this scheme.

Thank you for your time.
 
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Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
That's excellent Ninja, thank you for clarifying the issue and so quickly as well.

Do those who complete the UGAS TC and go for their officer commission, get to choose which part of the RN to be an officer in afterwards or is it expected/required to re-join Submarines?

If one chooses instead to depart from the RN upon finishing the TC, is there a known upper-age limit for re-joining that one needs to be aware of and do those who seek to re-join, need to join the exact same branch they were originally in? (After all that fishy ME stuff, it could be fun to be an Engineering CIS puff :D)

Third, is there a bar to joining UGAS, if the applicant is a dual-national with another European country? As the RN page only says "You must be a British national", but it doesn't say you must "only" be one.

To what extent does one physically attend a uni campus? I assume all the qualifications are just taken onboard or at a shore base.

If you extend your career without commissioning, does that simply mean you continue as a POET where you left off and then finally, if you're in long enough, become a CPOET?

I'm sorry for the many questions. But I'm so eager to know all I can about this scheme.

Thank you for your time.
For definitive advice, you are best off going through your AFCO , who can talk directly to the branch sponsor for definitive guidance.

When you apply for a commission it is usual to go for your source branch but in effect, you could request to branch change to any Officer cadre you are qualified & eligible to join, after completing your Return of Service, but the main thrust is source branch submariner.

The upper age upon re-entry for all branches depends on many factors and the bland "case by case basis" applies. For those wanting to rejoin in a different branch (classed as an UnTrained Re-Entrant - UTRE) the same age parameters apply as for first time joiners.

For those rejoining the branch they left, it's more complex. For example; If you were on a twenty year contract, served twelve, then left, assuming the break in service isn't too long (usually 3-5 years max) then you would usually rejoin up until 8 years before age 60. There's some degree of latitude - an RN engineer who left and kept current in engineering or a RN chef that continued their career as a chef could be considered with a longer break in service, but no guarantee. It's the Branch Manager's call and there's no guarantees as you can be sure contracts will change over time. (Mine has 4 times since I first joined).

Submarine branches only accept people who hold a full British passport. Dual nationals who hold a Brit passport, besides any other, may apply. Those who only hold an Irish or Commonwealth passport, are ineligible.

To give an idea of where the university bit sits amongst the fuller training pipeline, I've copied the ET(MESM) UGAS pipeline below.

The UGAS ET(MESM) training scheme is designed to put successful candidates through approx 3.5 years of intensive training to qualify them as Cat B nuclear watchkeepers. Following an approx 3-3½ year assignment to a submarine as a qualified Cat B, candidates will attend Portsmouth University to gain an in-service BEng (Hons) Engineering degree. The intent is to take very able candidates, with high academic STEM achievement (in comparison to the average ET), and accelerate them along the MESM ET career path by delivering upfront almost all existing training and education necessary to become a sailor, submariner and naval nuclear propulsion operator and maintainer. The training pipeline consists of:

Initial Training Phase. This phase takes approx 6 months and is common to UGAS(MESM) and UGAS(WESM) schemes with UGAS entrants joining the RN as generic UGAS candidates and being streamed approx 20 weeks after entering RAL. It includes:

New entry training at HMS RALEIGH (10 weeks).

Assignment to the Submarine Qualification organisation (SMQ) for approximately 3 months to complete general submarine training, some of which will be on an operational submarine. Candidates will be streamed MESM or WESM towards the end of SMQ training.

Conduct Engineering Safety course at HMS SULTAN.

Attend Developing Leaders Course at the Royal Navy Leadership Academy.

Candidates join as probationary LETs.

Subject to service opportunities (e.g. submarine availability), candidates may qualify as a submariner and gain their Submarine Dolphins during this phase.

First Shore Training Phase. This phase will take approximately 14 months with candidates assigned to HMS SULTAN to attend:

  • Leading Engineering Technician’s Qualification Course
  • Specialist LET training.
  • Leading Ratings Leadership Course.
  • Nuclear Propulsion Systems Course and Maintainer Modules.
During this phase, scheme members will also be awarded an Advanced Modern Apprenticeship in Engineering. Subject to eligibility criteria, candidates can expect to be confirmed in the substantive rank of Leading Engineering Technician after successful completion of the LET MESM training pipeline (ie LETQC, MESM Specialist training & LRLC).

Sea Training Phase. This ‘journeyman’ phase of the candidates career path takes approximately 7 to 12 months and involves an assignment to an operational submarine to:

  • Qualify or re-affirm their submarine qualification.
  • Qualify as a Category D watchkeeper.
  • Qualify as a Category C Electrical Panel and Main Machinery Space Operator.
  • Qualify as a Nuclear Propulsion Plant Shut Down Supervisor.
  • Conduct Deputy Section Head maintenance and repair tasks.
Second Shore Training Phase. This phase lasts approximately 17 months and concludes the candidates’ shore training. Candidates return to HMS SULTAN to attend:

Petty Officer Engineering Technician Qualifying Course (POETQC SM)

  • Foundation Degree module
  • Nuclear Propulsion Operators Course
  • Senior Rates Leadership Course
  • Further specialist nuclear training


During this phase candidates will complete their Foundation Engineering Degree in Marine Systems Engineering.

Throughout the scheme, candidates will be badged as ETs and for most training courses will be mixed in with conventional and Fast Track ETs. However, the scheme will be planned separate to the current ET career pipeline and managed independently to ensure candidates complete all of their training in the time allowed in this programme.

Two further phases complete the scheme:

Sea Delivery Phase. Candidates will be assigned to an operational submarine to conduct onboard training to:

Qualify as a Category B operator and maintainer.

Re-qualify as a shutdown supervisor.

Serve at least 36 months as a qualified Cat B (due to onboard training this could lead to up to 42 months assigned to a submarine.

Upon qualifying as a Cat B, candidates will be advanced to Petty Officer Engineering Technician.

University Degree Phase. The timing of the end of the sea delivery phase will co-ordinate between candidates serving a minimum of 36 months as a qualified Category B operator, any leave candidates have outstanding and the pre-requisites that candidates need to complete before they attend a one year university course. The university course will build on the Foundation Degree awarded during the second shore training phase and will lead to the award of a BEng (Hons) Engineering degree. Currently the course is the Upper Yardman Degree Scheme held at Portsmouth University which awards a BEng (Hons) Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering degree, but the university and precise engineering degree topic may be subject to change. Whilst reading for their degree candidates will still be serving in the RN. There is no return of service for attaining the BEng.

On completion of the degree the scheme member can chose to:

Apply to extend to 20 years’ service (transfer to ES2) and continue to pursue a career in the MESM ET pipeline. This will almost certainly consist of further training and education to achieve qualification as a Category A2 Nuclear Propulsion Supervisor.

As stated, once they invest so much time, money & effort they would usually expect successful applicants to enter the officer corps as a MESM sub-specialist on the upper yardman scheme or senior upper-yardman schemes (dependent upon age), provided they have passed the Admiralty Interview Board and have been selected whilst on the UGAS.
 

NUGAT

Midshipman
Again, excellent answer. I really appreciate what you do around here.

My thoughts regarding the change at officer came from how it seems you can transfer from GS to Submarines but not the other way around and so, if one wanted to try GS too, the officer stage would be the time (and perhaps only time) to do it I thought.

I'm a little surprised that it's not mentioned anywhere that you either get or could apply for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status and/or progress to Chartered Engineer status (CEng), as mentioned for some other roles. No worries.

The whole scheme is just incredibly exciting and I'm thinking of grabbing it with both hands. Thanks again!
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
Again, excellent answer. I really appreciate what you do around here.

My thoughts regarding the change at officer came from how it seems you can transfer from GS to Submarines but not the other way around and so, if one wanted to try GS too, the officer stage would be the time (and perhaps only time) to do it I thought.

I'm a little surprised that it's not mentioned anywhere that you either get or could apply for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status and/or progress to Chartered Engineer status (CEng), as mentioned for some other roles. No worries.

The whole scheme is just incredibly exciting and I'm thinking of grabbing it with both hands. Thanks again!
No worries.

I agree it's a fantastic scheme that seems almost too good to be true...but it is true. I've yet to come across civilian companies (or the Army or RAF) coming close to it.

After you complete your first contract, you can apply to switch to GS, as indeed can most submariners after completing the 5 years Return of Service (RoS).

What many people don't realise is that even if you join as a general service rating or officer, with the exception of Fleet Air Arm, you can be assigned/drafted/appointed to submarines, regardless. I don't think it has happened in recent years but it was certainly happening to most branches as classes neared the end of phase two (branch) training when I joined (early 1980s). IEng & CEng is certainly up for grabs, but not everyone goes for it, so it's an option rather than a designated career path and the career path is pretty detailed & convoluted without mentioning the "add-ons" at the point of entry.

Best of luck.
 

Roneyj05

Midshipman

think I’ve just found a link within the thread I had the other day. It seems there are two different returns of service during the training timeline. One of 24 months and a one later at 36 months. None once the dregree is complete. As a result, I think the accelerated apprentice route may be better. Wouldn’t fancy being committed if you don’t know if you will like it. Returns of service are fully expected for obvious reasons.
 

perrym

Midshipman
Just to clarify there is no post uni return of service, however you must complete 3 years as a qualified POET in a sea going position prior to commencing Uni.

The 24 mth RoS you have read about are standard training RoS post LET & POET courses.

I hope this helps.
 
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