Accelerated Apprentice scheme (Air Engineering)

Service:Fleet Air Arm
An Advanced Apprenticeship Air Engineering rating working on a Royal Navy aircraft.

High demand role

This is a highly competitive role with a potential long lead time to join.

You may wish to consider joining the Royal Navy in any other Accelerated Apprentice Scheme role or as an Air Engineering Technician.

Apprenticeships Air Engineering Technician

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

Joining the Royal Navy on the Accelerated Apprentice Scheme (Air Engineering) streamlines your route to working with our most advanced aircraft. You’ll receive condensed training, so you can quickly be part of the team that maintains, services and inspects the Fleet Air Arm’s helicopters and fighter jets.

Our aircraft can’t fly unless everything is safe – and that’s where you come in. Unlike comparable civilian roles, it won’t take long for you to take charge of some of the most sophisticated kit in existence, as you join as a Probationary Leading Hand – two ranks higher than most Engineering Technicians.

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Be a central part of the Royal Navy’s aviation capabilities, getting hands-on with our jets and helicopters, and making sure they can take off whenever they’re needed.
  • Develop your engineering skills and specialise in mechanical technology and avionics. You’ll need to use all of your knowledge to find innovative solutions to complex problems, often under pressure.
  • Serve on board a frigate, destroyer, aircraft carrier, at a Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS), or with a frontline squadron based overseas, looking after everything from the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to our Merlin helicopters.
  • Maintain, service and inspect the Fleet Air Arm’s aircraft, working with your team before and after every flight, and operating at the highest levels of the engineering industry.


What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Certificate of Higher Education in Aeronautical Engineering

Opportunities open to you  

  • You could work toward a degree like Aeronautical Engineering

Skills you'll develop

  • Use your natural aptitude for fixing things, on a massive scale. You’ll choose between rotary and fixed wing aircraft, developing all the specialist knowledge you need to become an engineering expert.
  • Learn to maintain and operate some of the most cutting-edge kit on the planet. 
  • Work with interesting, sophisticated mechanical systems, like the F35 Joint Strike Fighter, and the Wildcat and Merlin helicopters.

What you'll need


  • You need to be aged 17 to 25
  • A minimum of three GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade 4 or above, including English Language, Mathematics and at least one science
  • You must be a British or British Dual National, who has lived in the UK continuously for the 5 years prior to applying
  • You need to be a minimum height of 145cm
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

There are 2 options for acceptable vocational qualifications which are required in addition to the basic academic criteria above:

Option 1

  • A National Qualifications Framework Level 3 Diploma (with a minimum of a Merit Pass) in an engineering discipline

Option 2

  • At least 48 UCAS points in A-levels (or equivalent) in Mathematics and a STEM subject (minimum grade D or above in each subject)

Skills and interests

  • A quick thinker, with a passion for working with the latest equipment and technology
  • A problem-solver who can work well as part of a team
  • An affinity for aircraft and avionics
  • Enthusiasm for fixing and maintaining electronic and mechanical system


Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest and have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent an online application form

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

    You’ll be tested on: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension and Mechanical Comprehension.
    To prepare, you can practise the DAA

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role. This is normally conducted using your own device over the Shine video platform

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Candidate Preparation Course (CPC)

    This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy, including a Swimming Test and a fitness assessment, is a pass or fail course

  • Start training

    Once you’ve passed a Security Check, you’ll be offered a place at HMS Raleigh

Initial training

Your Royal Navy career begins with 10 weeks’ basic training at HMS Raleigh, a shore base in Torpoint, Cornwall. The discipline, teamwork, organisational, firefighting and weapon handling skills you learn here will stay with you right through your career.

Aim to get yourself as fit as possible before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in shape.

There's also a swimming test, so if you can't swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.

Professional training

You’ll be embarking on one of the world’s top apprenticeship schemes, which means training will be a constant feature of your time with us. As well as helping you develop your Royal Navy career, everything you achieve will be valued by a future civilian employer. It will also be recognised by Professional Institutions, so you can take a streamlined route to registering as an EngTech or an IEng. 

Once you have the essential military and maritime skills under your belt, it’s time to start your specialist training, beginning with six months at the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering.