Away for a year

For some of our apprentices, it is a big step going ‘away’ for a year. But at the training centre, you will be one of 240 Apprentices – and that brings with it a real sense of teamwork. So although this might be the first time that you’ve spent a long period away from home, there is a genuine community feel within the programme.

You will live at HMS Collingwood, which is just three miles from the training base at HMS Sultan – and there is transport provided from one to the other. While some apprentices take a few weeks to get used to living away from home, it doesn’t take long to make friends, and in no time you’ll be used to living independently. Here you will share a bedroom with up to five others – and you’ll get used to living in a place where you have to share facilities and live together.

There are, after all, some great facilities. There’s a gym, swimming pool, squash courts, extensive playing fields, outdoor tennis courts, water sports and programmes of organised activities. From the very first day, there are also lots of team-building and social events; and the team is there to help as well as develop you. Possibly the best support comes from your fellow apprentices – and if some are struggling with certain academic or practical parts of the course, it doesn’t take much for someone to help out. There’s a real sense of doing this together.

There is a lot to do in the area as well. With all the facilities we have on site, people are actually able to save or to spend their money on other activities. Some turn out for the local rugby team; others have even taken part in sky-diving and deep-sea fishing. In and around Gosport and Portsmouth, you’ll find plenty of things to do in your spare time – there are lots of shops, cinemas, historic sites, sporting activities and plenty of nightlife.

‘Compared with my mates’

“Compared with my mates, I’m glad I’m doing what I’m doing. Friends who stayed at home are just doing the same old things; they may be earning a bit more than me but they are in dead-end jobs and I’m going to overtake them pretty soon.”