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Skills for Life: How Army apprenticeships can empower careers

Inclusivity and opportunity as well as skills for life are at the heart of everything the Army offers, including its 41 apprenticeships.

As one of the UK’s largest Apprenticeship Employer Providers the British Army has 4000 personnel starting an apprenticeship every year and is celebrating this achievement as part of National Apprenticeship week.

There are many career paths to choose from. Apart from being a combat soldier, apprenticeships are available in information technology, logistics, construction, business admin, engineering, public service and health.

This week as business and organisations across the UK highlight the importance of their workplace training schemes, the Army is highlighting some of the soldiers who are currently completing an apprenticeship.

Soldiers like Private Kaine McKenna who is a Military Personal Administrator in the Adjutant General Corps Staff and Personnel Support (SPS) Branch currently assigned with 5th Regiment Royal Artillery based in Catterick, North Yorkshire.

The Army’s Staff and Personnel Support Branch work in close-knit detachments of approximately 15 personnel and are attached to every unit in the British Army, as well as overseas locations such as NATO HQs and British Embassies. They are a key part of the unit organisation and work closely with the command staff to ensure the unit’s readiness to deploy on operations as well as deploying with their unit to continue providing integral support.

Kaine was not aware of the apprenticeship career path offered by the Army when he joined in 2019 but has now completed his Level Three Business Administrator Apprenticeship, which is the equivalent to two ‘A’ Levels.

He said: “I’m getting a good insight into project management and a useful insight into how I can transfer my trade into a civilian career should I choose to leave. I’m now assessing my options for my next qualification to take the next step in my Army career.

“The skills I have gained have given me practical experience in developing my communication skills and management. It has also shown me that I can go on and achieve good academic results which I wasn’t confident about before I started my apprenticeship.

“My main role is pay and administration but as I am a soldier first, I also do military training. I’ve enjoyed delivering Fieldcraft lessons and it’s given me the opportunity to develop my public speaking.”

The Army offers apprenticeships in levels two, three and four and there are also opportunities to earn a higher qualification equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, fully funded by the Army. The Army may also introduce a master’s apprenticeship in the near future.

Level Two, an intermediate apprenticeship, is perfect for school and college leavers or those joining the Army for a change of career. While advanced apprenticeships (Level Three) will result in qualifications equivalent to A levels, a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) is a great alternative to university. The qualifications that can be achieved are equivalent to a Higher National Diploma or Foundation Degree.

Kaine was also surprised by the adventure training opportunities offered by the Army. He said: “The adventure training I have done has been great and the personal financial contribution has been relatively low. I love skiing and have been able to gain a Ski Foundation Level Two through the Army. My ultimate goal is to become a ski instructor for my Corps.” The Ski Foundation Level Two is an eight day on-mountain training and assessment course in which technical and teaching skills are developed and assessed.

Those interested in an apprenticeship with the Army should visit their local Armed Forces careers office or use this link to find out more at Army Jobs.

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