Setting sail with a Royal Navy apprenticeship

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Year 11 student Jake Kowalski is looking forward to seeing the world when he takes up a Marine Engineering apprenticeship with the Royal Navy in September.

At 16, he will be starting on an intermediate apprenticeship scheme with the opportunity to gain advanced and even higher apprenticeships in the future. The apprenticeship will train him up in everything from working on the ship’s hull and engines to its electrical, fuel, hydraulic and firefighting systems.

He’ll do his basic training at HMS Rayleigh in Portsmouth before setting sail to who know where, and he can’t wait!

“A career in the forces was always something I wanted since quite young and the Navy was always the main one on my mind – I think it’s because I grew up around beaches and love being on the sea. I’m looking forward to getting paid for training for a good job and making the life skills you need, plus you get to see the world.

“This particular apprenticeship appealed to me because of my background at UTC, mainly for the engineering side of things.

Is he worried about joining up so young, and how do his parents feel about it?

“I didn’t want to stay on and study – I’m happy to be earning a good wage while I learn on my apprenticeship and to travel. My parents are happy that I’m pursuing a dream and going into the forces – they know it will take me all around the world and give me a lot of amazing opportunities. Also, the Navy looks after the younger recruits – there’s an evening curfew and I know you can carry on with further studies should you wish to.”

As well as getting support from his parents in his application, Jake got lots of help from teachers at UTC Swindon, particularly engineering teacher Sarah Crookes, who herself served in the Royal Navy.

“She helped me with everything that I needed – if I didn’t understand forms or on some bits of the test, and she was emotionally supportive as well.”

Jake says he enjoyed his two years at the UTC, and would recommend it.

“I liked it because the school is so much smaller compared to mainstream schools, so it’s easier to get around, make friends and get used to the environment. It’s more of a comfortable environment – we call teachers by their first names and I feel it’s a better way to build a good teacher student relationship.

“I would say to anyone thinking about a UTC, absolutely do come here. You make friends really quickly,  the lessons are fun and you’ll pick up a lot of amazing life skills. You will really enjoy your time here and be sad at the end to leave.”

We wish Jake every luck in his apprenticeship and look forward to hearing how he is getting on.

For more information about Navy apprenticeships, visit here 


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