Developing tomorrow’s talent today

Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) is training and developing a talented workforce to help keep the UK and its allies safe.

The Ministry of Defence’s procurement arm employs close to 300 apprentices across 11 schemes based in England and Scotland.

Recruits joining the business can forge long-term careers in Engineering, Operational Delivery, Information Management & Information Technology, Finance and Accounting, Project Delivery and Corporate Services.

DE&S CEO Andy Start said: “Apprentices and graduates are our future as we strive to keep our nation and allies safe. We want enthusiastic and ambitious people from all backgrounds to embark on an exciting, rewarding career as we develop tomorrow’s talent today.

“We’re constantly expanding our range of apprenticeship schemes – from engineering to accounting, from business management to cyber security. This week is all about celebrating that talent and showing what DE&S has to offer the next generation in defence.”

  Numerous DE&S apprenticeship schemes are currently open to applicants. To find out more, please visit

Sophie Gregory Project Professional Apprentice

Sophie Gregory believes variety is the spice of life as a DE&S apprentice. The 21-year-old from Bradley Stoke is a second-year project professional, working on Project Renown to help improve the availability of ships for the Royal Navy.

“After I finished school I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to university or do an apprenticeship,” she said. “I had a gap year and was working in catering in nursing homes during the pandemic. It was quite a stressful time and I decided I needed a change of career.

“I found out about DE&S apprenticeships, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to develop my skills while on the job and gain some qualifications. There’s lots of opportunity to get involved in loads of different things. Everybody’s really willing to gain experience and get stuck in. You don’t have to stick to one area. There’s lots of ways you can jump across to different areas – project controls or project delivery – and you can develop your skills along the way.”

The highlight of her time as an apprentice so far came when she was asked by one of the senior leaders in the ships domain to lead a risk review.

“I hadn’t been doing risk very long, only a couple of months,” Sophie recalled. “It was quite nerve-racking but luckily our programme director John Farrow is very open and friendly, so he made me feel comfortable and was very supportive. I was nervous to start with, but it got easier as it went on.”

Sophie feels the flexible working scheme – ability not to necessarily work a five-day, 9-5 pattern and to claim back extra hours worked – is a big bonus of working for DE&S. And, having gone to school local to DE&S HQ in Abbey Wood, she has enjoyed giving something back to the local community.

“Me and my colleagues have gone out to local schools to help support Sixth Formers in deciding what they want to do in their next stages,” she added. “An apprenticeship is a really good option to consider because, especially at DE&S, there are lots of opportunities for qualifications and to develop your wider skills.

“I’ve also been up to RAF Waddington to see some of the kit that we’ve been working on, meet some of the team and talk to the guys and girls on the scene who it’s directly affecting. It was really rewarding because you get to experience it in real life and it’s not just on a page, it’s a physical thing that we’re helping to work towards.”