Accelerated Apprentice Scheme (Communications Information Systems)

Service:Surface Fleet
engineer maintaining equipment

At a glance

What you’ll do

Joining on the Accelerated Apprentice Scheme (Communications Information Systems) means you won’t wait long to be in the thick of the action. When qualified as a Leading Engineering Technician Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Specialist, you'll be managing your team of network engineers from the heart of every mission.  

Every day, you’ll be solving complex issues to enable the secure exchange of mission critical and often top-secret information. It will also be your responsibility to deliver and administer specialist communications and IT equipment, including classified information and cryptographic material.

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Operate sophisticated global networked information systems, so you're always able to receive communications that are crucial to the day-to-day operation of the ship
  • Manage your team to take responsibility for the ship’s complex data-processing network systems, utilising the latest satellite technology to deliver everything from complex warfighting communications to the welfare internet, placing you at the heart of tactical and strategic communications
  • Manage the day to day delivery of communications between Royal Navy Ships, their aircraft including F35, and International Task Groups to keep the Battlespace informed
  • Find a solution to whatever problem comes your way, working with your team in challenging environments and high-pressure situations

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Professional qualifications including a Level 4 Apprenticeship in IT

The opportunity to gain

  • Work towards a degree like Information Systems or Computing

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn to operate and administer sophisticated communications equipment, including global radio and satellite systems
  • Develop practical skills and your natural aptitude for fixing things to find a solution if a problem arises
  • Working within one of the key hubs within a ship, become the ultimate team player, working with your colleagues in the Engineering branch to keep the ship operational, and collaborating with your crewmates on other projects

Career progression

What you'll need


  • You need to be aged between 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 United Kingdom citizen or British Dual National. Dual Nationality restrictions do apply
  • You must have lived in the UK for 5 years continuously prior to application
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

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

  • Option 1 - A vocational qualification in an Engineering/Computing discipline at Level 3, generally carrying the title "Level 3 Diploma/Extended Diploma in Engineering"
  • Option 2 - At least 48 UCAS points in A-levels (or equivalent) in Mathematics and 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
  • A real sense of adventure, with a high level of physical and mental fitness
  • 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, we’ll be in touch to discuss your options

  • 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 professional registration to a variety of recognised institutes.

Once you have the essential military and maritime skills under your belt, you’ll go to the Maritime Training School, where you’ll undertake specialist engineering training, focussing on the key facets of Communications delivery from satellite network engineering and management to more tactical voice communication procedures.