Undergraduate Apprenticeship Scheme (UGAS)

Service:Submarine Service
An Engineering Technician working on Royal Navy kit.

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

Joining the Undergraduate Apprenticeship Scheme (UGAS) is your opportunity to be part of one of the Royal Navy’s most elite teams – and join one of the world’s most respected engineering apprenticeships. You’ll be paid to study for a BEng (Hons) degree, gaining practical skills, and using highly sophisticated equipment.  After that, you'll spend time in active service as either a Marine Engineer Submariner (MESM) or Weapon Engineer Submariner (WESM).  As a MESM, that might mean operating and maintaining the nuclear reactor of a Vanguard or Astute Class submarine. Alternatively as a WESM you could be guaranteeing the efficiency of Spearfish Torpedoes and Tomahawk Missiles, or providing the nations nuclear deterrent.

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Start your career as a Probationary Leading Hand, undertaking 3½ years of training and education, learning how our systems work and qualifying as a Petty Officer. You’ll then complete a minimum of 3 years’ active service on a submarine, getting hands-on with our most advanced kit. Your tailored career then finishes with a one-year in-service university course.
  • Be a crucial part of one of our most respected and highly-trained teams. You’ll be supporting your boat’s nuclear reactor, ensuring its safe operation, and maintaining all the support systems that are vital to submarine missions.
  • Work on board a Vanguard Class submarine, ensuring the nation’s nuclear deterrent is operational, or on an Astute Class vessel where you’ll be part of some highly-classified hunter killer operations.
  • Operate at the highest levels of the industry as you complete an accelerated scheme to become a nuclear engineer. After that you can extend your service, apply to become a commissioned officer, or transfer your new skills to a career in the civilian sector.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • An Advanced Modern Apprenticeship Marine Engineering or NVQ L3 Diploma in WE Engineering Maintenance
  • A Foundation Degree in Marine Engineering or Electronics Engineering
  • A BEng (Hons) in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering or Electronic Systems

Skills you'll develop

  • You’ll learn to maintain and operate some of the most cutting-edge kit on the planet, including our submarine’s nuclear reactor, and become familiar with a variety of sophisticated mechanical and weapon systems
  • Gain a firm grounding in electrical and mechanical engineering principles, and an in-depth understanding of nuclear reactor theory

Career progression

What you'll need


  • You’ll need to be aged 18-34 on entry
  • A minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including English Language, Mathematics and at least one science
  • There are 2 options for acceptable qualifications required in addition to the basic academic criteria above:

           Option 1: A National Qualifications Framework Level
           3 Diploma (with a minimum of a merit) in
           engineering discipline.

           Option 2: At least 48 UCAS points in A-levels (or
           equivalent) in Mathematics and a STEM based

  • British National (or hold Dual Nationality iaw UKSV policy)
  • You need to be a minimum height of 157cm 
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

Skills and interests

  • A quick thinker, with a keen interest in mechanics and electrics
  • A problem-solver, who can work well as part of a team
  • A real sense of adventure, with a high level of physical and mental fitness
  • Enthusiasm for learning to maintain and fix cutting-edge equipment
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, we’ll be in touch to discuss your options

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NSRT)

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • Interview

     A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • 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)

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

  • Pre Royal Navy Course (PRNC)

    This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy 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

Once you have the essential military and maritime skills under your belt, it’s time to start your professional training. You’ll spend 3-4 months at HMS Sultan in Gosport, where you’ll learn how the machinery on board our submarines works, and how to repair, and even make, components.

After that, you’ll receive further specialist training at either Devonport or Falsane, before going to sea for the first time. At the end of training, there will be an exam to test your knowledge. When you pass, you’ll earn your Dolphins – the mark of a qualified Submariner.

Your nuclear engineering training will then begin in earnest at HMS Sultan in Gosport. Here you will study topics such as:

  • Electrical and mechanical engineering principles
  • Equipment fault finding and repair
  • Nuclear engineering theory
  • Nuclear reactor operations
  • Air purification

You start your career as a Probationary Leading Hand, and after 3½ years of training and education, you’ll qualify as a Petty Officer. You’ll then complete a minimum of 3 years’ active service on a submarine. Your tailored career then finishes with a one-year in-service university course.