Navy's apprenticeship scheme labelled 'outstanding' by government inspector

OUTSTANDING - that is the verdict of government inspectors on the quality of apprenticeships provided by the Royal Navy to sailors and Royal Marines.

Navy's apprenticeship scheme labelled 'outstanding' by government inspectorsIn every category in which they assessed the way the Senior Service trains, nurtures, encourages and supports would-be engineers, chefs, logisticians, warfare specialists and Royal Marines, the team from Ofsted gave the Royal Navy the same high mark.

Nearly 5,000 Royal Navy personnel are enrolled on some form of apprentice or advanced apprentice initiatives.

The ten-strong Ofsted team who spent a week observing and assessing the training delivered and the coaching, mentoring and the achievements and skills of apprentices across the Naval Service.

They determined that apprentices:

  • conduct themselves in an exemplary manner;
  • benefit from theory in the classroom which links well with the practicality of working on a warship or submarine;
  • become excellent engineers, caterers, logisticians/administrators and Royal Marines;
  • are strongly encouraged to improve their maths, English and Information/Communications Technology skills;
  • work to extremely high standards - engineers, for example, solve complex problems.

this, says Ofsted, stems from clear direction and leadership and dedicated instructors.

I am absolutely delighted that the Naval Service Apprenticeship Programme has been recognised externally by Ofsted as 'outstanding

Rear Admiral John Clink, Flag Officer Sea Training

"I am absolutely delighted that the Naval Service Apprenticeship Programme has been recognised externally by Ofsted as 'outstanding'," said Rear Admiral John Clink, Flag Officer Sea Training - in charge of all the training, education and instruction sailors and marines receive.

"This rating is particularly impressive given that last year Ofsted only awarded six per cent of apprenticeship providers this highest of accolades. It clearly recognises our specific achievements in delivering world-class accredited training."

Weapons engineer Rory Slater dropped out of university to become a naval technician, responsible for electronics, sensors and weapons systems.

"I have enjoyed the full benefits of being paid a decent salary while learning on the job," he said. "I earn more than some of my friends and all of my siblings even though they are in further education or at university.

"Another perk is that you get to travel while you are doing your apprenticeship. I may not have been fully around the world yet, however, I have seen a lot of Europe, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean."

Fellow weapons engineer Sarah Childs has been an apprentice for three years, earning a diploma and NVQ as she carried out maintenance and repairs on many different weapons, communications, and radar systems on deployment in the Baltic, Mediterranean and Gulf. She is well on her way to a Foundation Degree and, ultimately, a full degree in engineering.

"Apprenticeships in the Navy appealed to me because although I completed A-Levels and joined university, it wasn't for me - I wanted a career where I could study for civilian recognised qualification and gain hands-on experience at the same time, with the ability to earn a good salary.

"Earning while you're learning" is one of the best things about Navy apprenticeships - the salary is much higher than most civilian counterparts, as well as all the benefits you receive such as additional sea pay and free medical and dental care."

The Royal Navy has recruited around 50,000 apprentices over the past 15 years, with around one in ten personnel across four main areas - warfare, engineering, logistics and Royal Marines - currently enrolled on an apprenticeship programme.