UGAS or University?


Hi all!
I know there are very similar threads out there on this topic but I've been torn up on deciding whether to join the Royal Navy on the Undergraduate Apprenticeship Scheme or to join a University and find a career in mechanical engineering on 'civvy street'. I am currently in my 1st year of sixth form and soon to be starting my 2nd year within the next couple of weeks.

After visiting my local AFCO and University (The University of Sheffield) I have ultimately come down to these conclusions.
UGAS-Study a BEng in Mech Engineering (Hons) with no student debt
-Starting salary of £31,000 rising to £42,500 after 4 years and to £48,500 at the end of the course
-Become a Cat B Nuclear Watchkeeper and gain significant engineering experience

University-Study a MEng in Mech Engineering (Hons) with £36,000 course debt+£22,000 accommodation
-Opportunities to study abroad and take a year off with a self organised work placement

At the moment I seem fairly set on going with UGAS although I do have a few questions if anyone could answer them.
-What is social life like as a submariner?
-What are the job prospects like for someone who finishes their time in the service?
-Would I be maturing too quick by joining the RN straight from sixth form and skipping University life?

And lastly
-How does life in the Royal Navy differ to life as a University student?

Cheers! :)


War Hero
Hmnn, difficult shout.

Get a job, earn £95,500, three years promotional hands-on life-experience and a nuclear engineering degree or stay in education, rack-up £52,000 debt and earn a degree with little by way of practical work experience?

The social life of a submariner inboard is very similar to that of a student only perhaps a little more intense as it is accompanied by a wage and like-minded people.

The job prospects and earnings potential for a qualified nuclear engineer with 8 years practical service and management experience is considerably more than those of a newly graduated student. For nuclear engineers, the future is bright.

The difference? In most cases nowadays, people go to university to gain a vocational degree in order to acquire a job and earn a wage. It's an extremely expensive way to gain "life experience" which can actually be better achieved in the workplace.

Although some disagree, a university is a revenue-generating entity. It is a business in itself. If everyone stayed in fulltime education for three or four (or five + years) we would have a workforce with zero practical technical experience in the workplace. Trouble is, we have lots of people who go to uni, get their degree and wrongly assume they will be immediately employed as a manager of people who can actually do the job by virtue of the degree and the real-life experience.

NUGAS? A golden opportunity - Grab it with both hands because I suspect it won't be offered for long.


War Hero
Well said Ninja
1. Great with loads of dosh
3. Great
3. Jack gets older, no guarantee he will grow up
4. Less rules & regulations at uni but also no job on offer at the end, we have been looking for 5 engineers for some time, the new graduates just are not up to the mark, not lack of experience, but what the universities are teaching them. It's great to have a degree but it needs to be of a subject matter that industry wants?


War Hero
The social life of a submariner inboard is very similar to that of a student only perhaps a little more intense as it is accompanied by a wage and like-minded people.

Mum, when I grow up I want to be a submariner.

Well make your mind up son, you can't do both!

Go NUGAS - it is a no brainer.


Thanks for the speedy replies guys! I have to say when I take a step back and listen to the points of other people it is a no brainer. I'm hoping to get my application through as soon as possible as I'm so nervous about this opportunity vanishing, although when I went to the AFCO in Sheffield they told me that I would have to apply when I receive my full A-Levels which would be next August which worried me! However, speaking to someone who is currently on NUGAS they mentioned that they were able to apply whilst half way through their last year of sixth form so I'm hoping for the best.

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