Armed Forces Apprenticeships

The armed forces are the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence, working to keep the UK safe. Apprenticeships are available in different branches of the military, including the Army, RAF and Royal Navy.

Armed Forces Apprenticeships

Having a career devoted to serving your country is incredibly rewarding. Employees are known for their courage, commitment and discipline - three qualities that set them up for a long and successful career, whether they choose to stay in the armed forces or apply their skills elsewhere.

You'll also have plenty of opportunities to travel and build a diverse skill set - all whilst bonding with a tight-knit group of colleagues that will become friends for life.

So you're bound to find something that floats your battleship! Whether you want to join the Army, Royal Air Force (RAF) or Royal Navy, you can do so with an apprenticeship. The Ministry of Defence is the largest provider of apprenticeships in the UK, offering over 20,000 different schemes.

Should I join the Army, Royal Navy or the RAF?

You may have dreamed of joining the RAF your whole life, but you might be more suited to a career in the Royal Navy. Before you make this decision, you need to do your research. (There's more to it than your preference between ships and planes).

If you join the armed forces, you'll learn the true value of teamwork, build mental and physical strength, and develop technical skills that will set you up for almost any career you want to pursue.

There are bases all over the country, and you'll be expected to visit a few, sometimes for several weeks at a time. Plus, you could also be deployed for up to six months in operational duties around the world. This could be anything from providing humanitarian aid in war-torn countries to enforcing anti-terrorism measures.

So if you're a home bird who likes their creature comforts, you may want to reconsider joining the armed forces - or opt for the Reserve Forces instead.

It's a huge commitment, so take your time to look through each military branch and weigh out your options. Read on for a breakdown...

What apprenticeships can you get in the Army?

You'd be surprised. Apprenticeships in the Army are diverse, and you'll pick up a vast number of skills.

Joining the Army doesn't necessarily mean you have to fight on the front line either - there are so many paths you can take within this sector, including doing an apprenticeship in...

  • Public Services and Health

  • Engineering

  • Telecommunications

  • Animal Care

  • I.T.

  • Logistics

  • Construction

  • Business Admin

The Army offers apprenticeships in levels 2, 3 and 4 and the opportunity to do a degree apprenticeship later in your career.

Here are some examples of apprenticeships offered by the Army...

Army Dog Handler (Level 2 & 3)

You'll work with Military Working Dogs (MWD) and take them wherever the Army is deployed. Starting with protection dogs, you'll then work with specialist dogs that can sniff out explosives and arms.

Combat Medical Technician (Level 3)

You'll be on the front line working hard to save soldiers' lives. You'll aim to get soldiers off the battleground quickly and safely to give them medical treatment.

Cyber Engineer (Level 4)

Ultimately, you'll learn how to engineer, maintain and repair various communications equipment used on the battlefield and operations. You'll work towards specialising in one of three areas...

  • Information Services Engineer

  • Networks Engineer

  • Infrastructure Engineer

It's important to know that for most roles, you'll receive military training that'll teach you how to be a soldier before you move into your specific field. Training lasts for 14 weeks.

What are the Army's entry requirements?

This depends on the level of apprenticeship you're applying for.

Most level 3 and 4 apprenticeships ask for GCSEs graded at 4-9 in Maths and English, plus any relevant subjects. For example, to do a level 4 Ammunition Technician apprenticeship, you'll need GCSEs that must include Physics, Chemistry, or mixed sciences.

If you left school without GCSEs, you can still apply for an Army apprenticeship, as several schemes within the Army don't require you to have formal qualifications - especially at level 2.

You'll also need to pass a physical fitness test that'll include...

  • Mid-Thigh Pull 50kg

  • Medicine Ball Throw 2.7m

  • MSFT (beep test) level 6.6

How much does an Army apprentice earn?

During your training, you'll earn a minimum salary of £16,844 a year. After your training, it'll bump up to £21,425. This can rise to over £28,000 once you get to level 4. Cue the next episode of Stranger Things; that's your Netflix subscription officially sorted.

Watch this thrilling video for an insight into what it's really like to do an apprenticeship in the Army.

Every career in the Army has an opportunity to earn a higher qualification equivalent to a Bachelor's or Master's degree. These are fully funded by the Army.


With all the tantalising career prospects on offer, you're probably wondering how to apply...

It's simple. You can fill out an application online. You can visit an Army Careers Centre near you if you'd like more information on Army apprenticeships.

Can you do an RAF apprenticeship?

You absolutely can. Apprenticeships with the Royal Air Force are old - 102 years old, to be exact.

There are 23 apprenticeships to choose from in the RAF, ranging from firefighting to engineering and even hospitality.

What apprenticeships can I do with the RAF?

Here are some examples of apprenticeships offered by the RAF...

Information Communications (Level 3) apprenticeship

In this highly rewarding role, it'll be your job to ensure that the RAF's IT networks are protected, updated and in tip-top shape. You'll train to become a Cyberspace Communications Specialist.

Apprenticeship in Production - Chef (Level 2)

You'll create world-class dishes for RAF workers in various environments, whether in the mess halls on base, in-flight meals, or providing meals for soldiers on the front line. You could even end up cooking for The Royal Family.

Photography (Level 3) apprenticeship

As an RAF photographer, you'll capture everything from crime scenes and times of conflict to VIP events and portraits.

To see what else the RAF has to offer, check out the Roles on the RAF page.

How long are Royal Navy Apprenticeships?

Before you start your apprenticeship, you'll complete a 10-week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC), where you're given the tools you need to adjust to military life, including...

  • Fitness training

  • Military training

  • RAF Lifestyle training

Once you're finished, the length of your actual apprenticeship will depend on what you're doing. If you're on a level 2 or 3 apprenticeship, it'll last between 12 and 18 months. If you're on a higher or degree apprenticeship, you'll look at anything from three to five years.

How much do you earn in the RAF?

The starting salary for an apprentice in the RAF is £17,835 plus bonuses, including...

  • Health care

  • Subsidised food and rent

  • Six weeks' holiday

  • A free gym membership

This can increase to almost £35,000 (depending on your scheme) six months after your initial officer training.

Can I join the RAF at 16?

Yes, you can join the RAF at 16. Apprenticeships are school leaver programmes specifically designed for career-ready young people aged 16 and above.

However, if you're joining the RAF outright, there are some schemes the RAF offers where you'll need to be at least 17.5 years old.

Follow AC Rhiannon McColl as she shows you what it's like to be an RAF apprentice.

Can I join the RAF with no qualifications?

The RAF offer plenty of apprenticeships that don't require you to have any formal qualifications.

So if you've left school with no GCSEs or without the relevant experience, there's something for you. These are mainly level 2 and some level 3 apprenticeships.

The RAF jobs page breaks their schemes down, so check them out to see where you can march in.

Once you've applied for a role, you'll be invited to complete fitness, medical and aptitude tests. You will also be interviewed before being accepted into the RAF. If you are accepted, you will begin training.

Apprenticeships in the Navy

The Royal Navy offers over 20 apprenticeship schemes, including the opportunity to travel the world and make a difference in people's lives.

You can do anything from biomedical science to communications and engineering. Here are just a few of the schemes you can apply for...

Royal Marines Musician

You'll be a member of the world-famous Royal Marines Band Service, performing worldwide at various events.

Apprenticeship Seaman

As part of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, you'll be integral to restocking the most advanced warships worldwide with fuel and supplies. In the words of the Navy, you'll become an ‘extraordinary sailor'.

Air Engineering Technician

You'll work on keeping some of the Navy's most advanced aircrafts in tip-top shape, including the F35B Lightening Stealth Fighter and the Merlin Mk4 Commando helicopter. You'll carry out maintenance, services and inspections.

How long is a Navy apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship in the Royal Navy will take you between 12 and 18 months to complete.

What's it like doing an apprenticeship with the Royal Navy? Watch this video to find out more...

Do you get paid to train in the Navy?

Apprentices are paid a full monthly salary from the day they start training. The average salary for an apprenticeship in the Navy is over £15,600, which rises to over £20,000 once you've finished initial training.

You'll also receive some perks, including...

  • Six weeks paid holiday

  • Around the world travel

  • Free dental and medical care

  • Adventurous training

  • Subsidised travel and accommodation

As your career progresses, you could eventually earn up to a whopping £51,000 a year!

How do I apply for the Royal Navy?

On the official Royal Navy website, you can filter your search to find an apprenticeship that fits your career goals.

There's a short form to fill out based on age, interests and qualifications. All the available apprenticeships that match your interests and educational level will appear as if by magic.

You can register your interest or request an application form. It's a good idea to look at several roles before choosing one.

If you progress, you'll be invited to complete interviews, aptitude tests and fitness checks.

These apprenticeships are more than your average Joe, run-of-the-mill apprenticeships. They're a lifestyle choice. If you long for thrill and adventure (with heaps of perks thrown in), this career will be right up your alley.

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