Skip to main content

DIO Apprenticeships: nurturing homegrown talent

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Apprentices, Working at DIO

A group photo of DIO apprentices stood in front of an Apache helicopter.
DIO apprentices at the Army Expo 22 [Crown Copyright / MOD 2022]
Hi, I’m John Abbott, DIO Apprenticeship Lead. I've recently taken on the role and I'm really enjoying the challenge. I'd like to think I practice what I preach having undertaken a Human Resources (HR) apprenticeship when I first joined the MOD. It’s also in the blood as my dad joined the MOD as an electrical engineering apprentice at RAF Sealand way back in 1982!

A unique apprenticeship experience

Over the past 12 months, we’ve organised several great days out to support our apprentices. In February, we hosted our Apprenticeship Awards at HMNB Portsmouth, and were lucky enough to receive not only a guided tour around the site, but also an onboard tour of HMS Prince of Wales, one of the Royal Navy’s latest Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. Our apprentices were shown around the ship’s bridge, flight island, hangar and flight deck in what was a real money-can’t-buy experience, as well as a welcome reminder of the personnel we support and the military capability DIO enables.

Just last month, we arranged for a group of current apprentices to attend the latest Army Expo event on Salisbury Plain Training Area. This was an opportunity to understand the Army’s Future Soldier Programme, and how the work of civil servants contributes to supporting our military at the front line.

Drone strikes, robotic dogs and the newest version of the Apache AH-64E helicopter in action were just some of the highlights from the event, which showcased the Army’s state-of-the-art air and land assets and gave an insight into military modernisation and transformation. It also highlighted the vital role of the Defence Training Estate in helping to prepare the UK military for operations worldwide.

Enhancing our apprenticeship offering

DIO Chief Executive Mike Green is a passionate supporter of apprenticeships. My challenge is to improve the quality and relevance of the apprenticeship offering in DIO to the business need and perhaps most importantly, to provide a great experience for all apprentices while completing their programme.

Two white males in smart-casual clothing, stood in front of an Apache helicopter.
Martin Robson (left) and Jake Hutchence, both completing the Level 6 Chartered Surveyor Commercial Real Estate apprenticeship, with the newest version of the Apache helicopter. [Crown Copyright / MOD 2022]
Apprenticeships play a vital role in DIO, supporting the development of talented individuals into a variety of roles requiring specialist knowledge, skills and behaviours. Taking time to invest in growing our own capability is crucial, as is ensuring staff feel valued and part of a team while they are learning and training on the job. We have an exciting range of apprenticeships on offer, which reflect the breath of professions across DIO. To list just a few, these include property, leadership, project delivery, finance, policy, operational delivery, commercial, digital and HR.

Improving awareness about apprenticeships

While we have had many apprentices successfully come through the organisation to date, there are some common misunderstandings about apprenticeships and the benefits for both the business and the apprentice, so I'd like to highlight a few points:

Apprenticeships range from Level 2 to Level 7:

    • Level 2 – Equivalent to GCSEs
    • Level 3 – Equivalent to 2 A Levels
    • Level 4/5 – Foundation Degree
    • Level 6 – Full Degree
    • Level 7 – Master’s Degree

Upon completion, the apprentice will typically have both a formal qualification and a professional membership of the relevant organisation, such as the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Association for Project Management (APM) or Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

You can undertake an apprenticeship at any stage of your career, and we have apprentices in the MOD at all ages and grades. The age profile of our apprentices greatly varies, and an apprenticeship will often appeal to an experienced person looking for a step into joining the MOD.

A group photo of two male apprentices and a female apprentice, stood in front of a display stand at the Army Expo 22.
Jack Croucher, Nick Smith and Ellie Nickols, all undertaking the Level 6 Quantity Surveyor Apprenticeship, pictured at the Army Expo 22. [Crown Copyright / MOD 2022]
If anybody reading this would like to get in touch with any questions about our current offering, or the ways in which you can utilise an apprenticeship to kick-start a career in Defence, please leave a comment below.

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Tim Moss posted on

    Apprenticeships are the way forward in industries such as precision engineering as we have a real lack of young, skilled people coming into the industry. Many of the skilled engineers are approaching retirement age which is causing a big skill shortage.

  2. Comment by Lorissa posted on

    I am considering an apprenticeship but I’m approaching 50. Is is possible to have some information or a chat regarding apprenticeships?

    • Replies to Lorissa>

      Comment by DIO Communications Team posted on

      Hi Lorissa,

      Apprenticeships aren't just for school leavers - our oldest apprentice was in his 60s. Our apprenticeships are advertised on Civil Service Jobs and are open to new and existing staff in a range of fields from intermediate to degree level. This year we'll be recruiting apprentices in construction project management, facilities management, surveying, digital, sustainability, security and engineering.

  3. Comment by Lewis posted on

    Apprenticeships for deolved nations, is there support for Scotland, Wales and Ireland? I have been asking about degree level apprenticeships but due to funding it seems to be a different set of rules. Do you have a point of contact for each nation to help with process?

    90% of the workforce is commercial within DIO, for the other 10% is there a set structure for helping with Apprenticeships?

    • Replies to Lewis>

      Comment by DIO Communications Team posted on

      Hi Lewis,

      As you say, the way in which the devolved administrations administer their funding for apprenticeships is managed differently in each country. The MOD is currently looking at what needs to be done to access apprenticeship funding in the devolved administrations but this is an ongoing piece of work and nothing is set in stone at this stage.

      If you are an MOD member of staff, feel free to email John directly for more information.

  4. Comment by Mo posted on


    I'm looking to move forward in my career and believe this is the perfect opportunity.

    I'm looking to enhance and develop new skills and believe the apprenticeship programme at DIO can provide this.

    Is it possible to have a further chat as to how I can go about approaching this?

    Many Thanks

  5. Comment by Shaniese posted on

    Hey, I'm a student currently in Yr12 going into Yr13 but I want to do a degree apprenticeship after I finish in something to do with digital/cyber security or something similar to that.
    What are the requirements and when will openings be for 2024?


Leave a comment

We only ask for your email address so we know you're a real person

By submitting a comment you understand it may be published on this public website. Please read our privacy notice to see how the GOV.UK blogging platform handles your information.