Engineering Degree Apprenticeship Scheme2023-05-03T11:36:46+01:00

As a DE&S Aerospace Degree Engineering Apprentice, you’ll be part of the team responsible for supporting the UK Services’ aircraft. This includes: 

  • combat aircraft like the Typhoon and Lightning
  • tanker and transport aircraft like the C130-J Hercules, A400M and Voyager
  • training aircraft like the Hawk and Tucano
  • helicopters including the Chinook, Apache, Wildcat and Lynx
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) including the Reaper, Watchkeeper and Desert Hawk.

You’ll undertake practical and academic training including a degree in Aerospace Engineering. 

You’ll also complete several work based training placements and defence specific aerospace related training at various locations within the UK. This is all while you’re completing the relevant vocational qualifications in preparation for employment in engineering roles within the MoD’s current and future aero programmes. Read more about the Engineering function

Scheme structure

Year One

You’ll attend University College Weston UCW to complete a National Vocational Qualification NVQ Level 2 in Aerospace and Aviation Engineering. This will include practical workshop experience including hand and machining skills, both mechanical and electrical.

You’ll also start a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering Manufacturing, which will include subjects like stress and dynamics, aero structures, engineering maths, energy and thermodynamics, design materials and CAD/CAM. 

Years Two and Three

You’ll continue studying for your Bachelor’s degree, part-time, with UCW at Global Technology Centre part of the GKN Aerospace facility in Bristol. You will also start a series of work based placements at Bristol and further afield.

Your placements on the Aerospace Degree Apprenticeship will provide you with much of the experience that you’ll need to take on a role within the business.

  • You’ll gain the evidence that you’ll need to complete the NVQ Level 4 in Engineering Manufacture.
  • You’ll be working alongside experienced project managers and engineers in Bristol working on real projects and experiencing the challenges of maintaining aircraft.
  • You can expect to spend time working with partners like BAE Systems, Airbus Defence, Thales and Leonardo.
  • You will also spend time at RAF Stations like Brize Norton, Coningsby and Odiham. 

End of Year Three Assessment

At this point you’ll be qualified and experienced to a level that allows you to register with a Professional Engineering Institution as an Engineering Technician (EngTech).

For some, this will be the end of the apprenticeship and you’ll have the option to start work within the business. However, there’s also the option to prove your suitability to continue into years four and five.

Years Four and Five

With a further two years of study, you’ll complete a part-time degree in Aerospace Engineering (BEng).

You’ll also continue to move around the business gaining even more knowledge and experience to prepare yourself for registration as an Incorporated Engineer (I Eng).

After qualifying

This is only the start of your career. Many of our apprentices gain promotions and continue with more specialised study such as a Master’s Degree (MSc) in subjects like Aerospace or Aeronautical Engineering.

Bespoke Training

Across years two to five you’ll also undertake a range of defence aerospace specific courses that are expected to provide you with knowledge of technologies that, in many cases, are unique to the UK Armed Forces.

Subjects covered may include:

  • Unmanned air systems design
  • Weapons integration
  • Aircraft defensive aids systems
  • Intelligence surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance
  • Avionics
  • Electronic and sensory systems
  • Air to air refuelling

Apprentice Standard

As an aerospace engineering degree apprentice you will follow a standard set and agreed by the aerospace industry.

The standards lays down the skills and knowledge you will expected to demonstrate by the end of the apprenticeship and also the required behaviours.

Read the standard on the Institute of Apprenticeship website and review the assessment plan.

Entry requirements

  • 5 GCSEs at grade 4-9 (C to A*) including English Language, Maths and Science (preferably Physics) 

and either:

  • 3 A Levels including Maths and Science (preferably Physics) at typically B, C, C or above


  • candidates must already have or will achieve a national diploma in Engineering equivalent to a minimum 104 UCAS Points


  • candidates must already have or will achieve a minimum of 104 UCAS points in relevant STEM subjects.

Help and Support

There are several ways that you’ll be supported. You’ll have: 

  • A dedicated manager throughout your apprenticeship. 
  • Assistance from an independent training assessor. 
  • Experienced and knowledgeable placement supervisors. 
  • In addition to the end point assessments, you’ll be assessed and reviewed every eight weeks to make sure you’re progressing as expected in both your academic and vocational studies. 

Selection process

When applying, you’ll complete an initial online application and be required to undertake an online numerical, verbal and Civil Service judgement test.

If you pass all tests, you’ll then complete a full application and upload your CV (please note the specific CV requirements on the job advert).

Finally, the top scoring candidates will be invited to an assessment centre in Bristol.

If successful at interview a place can be offered subject to you obtaining satisfactory grades, your references, security and health checks. Following completion of all pre-employment checks candidates can expect to start employment in September 2024.

This scheme is due to open in late 2023.

Back to DE&S Apprenticeship & Graduate Schemes

Benefits and discounts

We truly believe that DE&S is a great place to work, and we offer a unique experience for our graduates and apprentices.

We want to ensure that every single employee feels appreciated and fairly rewarded and being part of the Civil Service allows to offer a very unique and attractive benefits package including discounts on cinema tickets, sport and leisure and your weekly shop.

Discover all the ways we can help you make life easier.

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Meet our people

We have hundreds of amazing and inspiring apprentices and graduates across our organisation. Here are just some of their stories.

“You get the chance to work, gain qualifications and progress all at the same time. DE&S is very supportive, as there are lots of people with vast amounts of experience to learn from who are always happy to help.”

– Rachel, Project Professional Scheme

Turn your job into a career with DE&S. Find your place in our team today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Should you require support with the application process or require any technical assistance please contact the DBS team on 0800 345 7772.

A provisional offer informs you that you have been successful at interview subject to pre-employment checks.  At this stage we will initiate the necessary pre-employment checks, such as security clearance and medical questionnaires. If you are an external candidate, you are strongly advised not to give notice to your current employer until pre-employment checks have successfully been concluded.

Your provisional offer will inform you of the pre-employment checks.  The security checks, which are undertaken by National Security Vetting (NSV) Agency, usually take the longest to complete so you will be invited to commence this aspect once you have been informed that you have completed your interview, as this reduces delays. An invitation to begin the security clearance process is not a guarantee that you will be given an offer.

All candidates will be required to undertake security clearances to the level the role requires prior to commencing employment.  Assuming the candidate completes their security forms and references are returned in a timely fashion, and that no further checks or documents are required, we would expect the individual to be advised that we are in the position to make a formal offer of employment and start discussions to agree an appropriate starting date.

Explore our Frequently Asked Questions

The Disability Confident scheme aims to help employers make the most of the opportunities provided by employing disabled people. It is voluntary and has been developed by employers and disabled people’s representatives.

DE&S is proud to be a Disability Confident Leader.

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