Last Updated: 09 August, 2015

1.0     Background

As part of the Defence Technical Training Change Programme (DTTCP) driven development of Defence Technical Training, the Defence College of Technical Training (DCTT) formed on the 01 October 2012 from:

  • Defence College of Electro-Mechanical Engineering (DCEME)
  • Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering (DCAE)
  • Defence College of Communications and Information Systems (DCCIS)

With the above colleges having changed to schools on 01 October 2012, the DCTT (see Figure 1 below) now has 4 Pillars:

  • Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering (DSAE) with the school HQ at Cosford.
  • Defence School of Communications and Information Systems (DSCIS) with the school HQ at Blandford.
  • Defence School of Electro-Mechanical Engineering (DSEME); initially comprising Borden and Arborfield schools with No 4 School of Technical Training to become subordinate on move to RAF Lyneham.
  • Defence School of Marine Engineering (DSMarE) with the school HQ at Gosport.

The DCTT structure is coherent with training volumes in each of the Defence Schools and provides OF5-level command to enable delivery of site functions as Heads of Establishment in the Stations and Garrisons concerned (e.g. Commandant DSAE also the Station Commander of RAF Cosford). The HQ DCTT will be initially based in HMS Sultan, Gosport, but will move to RAF Lyneham no later than the end of 2014.

00,10,07a - Fig1Figure 1: Overview of the Defence College of Technical Training

2.0     Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering

The Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering (DSAE) is a federated school and comprises training establishments across three sites and embraces:

  • Headquarters DSAE;
  • The Royal Navy Air Engineering and Survival School (RNAESS) based at HMS Sultan in Gosport;
  • The REME School of Electronic and Aeronautical Engineering (SEAE) based in Arborfield;
  • The RAF No 1 School of Technical Training; and
  • The RAF Aerosystems Engineer and Management Training School.

The latter two, plus the Headquarters DSAE, are located at RAF Cosford. The principal task of the DSAE is to produce highly trained and motivated aeronautical engineering mechanics, technicians and officers ready to contribute to UK Defence. Other training organisations based at RAF Cosford include:

  • RAF Aerosystems Engineer and Management Training School (AE&MTS);
  • No 1 Radio School (part of DSCIS).
  • Defence School of Photography (part of the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre (DISC)).
  • RAF School of Physical Training.

2.1     Headquarters DSAE

The Commandant DSAE, who is also the Station Commander for RAF Cosford, is a Group Captain and is supported by a Royal Navy Commander who is the Chief of Staff (CoS) DSAE and Deputy Commandant. For the DSAE as a whole, the headquarters (HQ) provides the high-level planning and business development functions and ensures that the services provided to the DSAE satellite sites meet the standards set out in parenting agreements. The HQ forms the principal interface with other major stakeholders in the successor to the DTR Project – the Defence Technical Training Change Programme (DTTCP). The following management areas within HQ DSAE provide specific services:

  • SO1 Business Development: DSAE as contributed significantly to wider Defence Engagement, International Security Co-operation and UK Plc Defence sales by delivering IDT to personnel from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Brunei, USA and other countries, generating circa £11.5M in FY 2012/13. DSAE Cosford has recently had the honour of having all 3 (Mechanical, Avionic and Weapons) of its International Technician courses accredited to Engineering Council Award of Engineering Technician (EngTech) entitling the students’ on application to use the post-nominal of EngTech AMSOE AMIPlantE.
  • SO1 Training Development: The DSAE Training Development and Standards Organisation (TDSO) encompasses all of the training development and standards personnel and assets of the DSAE under the single direction of SO1 Training, DSAE HQ. This provides harmonised direction to deliver the School’s Training Transformation Programme and to meet the targets of the DTTCP. It will also ensure that: a unified DSAE HQ-level interface is provided to Tri-Service Training Requirement Authorities; harmonised processes of training development, assurance and assessment management are deployed across DSAE in compliance with DSAT QS; and that TDSO resource utilisation can be maximised across the DSAE to meet prioritised needs.
  • SO1 Accreditation: Accreditation Group (AG) provides support to all DSAE sites in development and delivery of accreditation opportunities. It also manages the RAF Aeronautical Apprenticeship schemes delivered here at RAF Cosford and out on the RAF’s Main Operating Bases. RAF Aeronautical Apprenticeships are the largest and most successful Aeronautical Engineering Apprenticeships within the UK and by far the largest of all the RAF’s apprenticeships. To deliver this success, AG consists of a number of specialist areas to both develop accreditation required by DSAE and deliver RAF schemes.
  • SO1 Training Services: Restructured on 01 October 2013 (now encompassing Training Plans and Scheduling; Training Secretariat, Performance, Manning and Risk (Sapphire)), Training Services brings resilience to the presently digital Manning and Performance areas and facilitates the matching of the required training task to the available resource. It also provides monitoring and reporting on School performance against task. It also retains the Projects functions of Project Assurance and is the focal point of Project Support, as well as support the DTTCP activities.
  • CoS Area: Under the C2 of the CoS DSAE, the CoS area delivers assurance, engineering management and safety management functions to all DSAE schools, and provides a pan-DSAE coordinating function. Subordinate organisations include the Quality and Continuous Improvement Team (QCIT) and Training Equipment Support and Safety (TES&S). CoS also acts as the Principal Engineer, advising the Commandant on aviation engineering matters and Military Aviation Authority (MAA) engineering compliance.

2.2     RAF Aerosystems Engineer and Management Training School

The RAF Aerosystems Engineer and Management Training School (AE&MTS) has responsibility for the following RAF courses:

  • Aircraft Technician Supervisors Course for Trade Group 1 (Aircraft Engineering) personnel selected for promotion to the rank of Corporal and, subsequently, the Technician Engineering and Asset Management Training course when selected for promotion to Sergeant.
  • The Basic Entry Scheme (Aerospace) Foundation Degree for Future Engineering Officers (FEngOs).
  • Engineer Officer Foundation Training.

Additionally, through the Academic Principles Organisation, academic instruction and support is provided to the majority of engineering courses at RAF Cosford.

2.3     The RAF No 1 School of Technical Training

DSAE provides Air Engineering training for the three Services through the RAF No1 School of Technical Training (No1 SofTT) which is based at RAF Cosford.

Prior to April 2013 the Commandant DSAE also had the single-Service responsibility of being the Officer Commanding (OC) of the RAF No1 SofTT. No 1 SofTT consisted of the Aerosystems Training Wing, Military Training Wing and Training Development Wing.

  • Aerosystems Training Wing (ATW): delivers Aerosystems Management and Technical Training, including weapons and survival equipment training, to RAF Non-Commissioned (NCO) personnel. ATW provides an extensive range of courses through the following Training Squadrons:
    • 238 Squadron: is responsible for delivering Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic (AMM) training which includes skill of hand, basic avionic, airframe and propulsion principles. Those skills are consolidated through activity-based aircraft scenarios involving flight servicing, flight handling, maintenance training and fault rectification. Forward training to AMM trainees, using live aircraft in realistic scenarios replicates the AMM role on an Operational Squadron.
    • Avionic and Mechanical Training Squadron: delivers technician-level Avionic and Mechanical systems and equipment trade training to Phase 3 and International Defence Training (IDT) students.
    • Weapons and Survival Equipment Training Squadron: provides basic and postgraduate training for the Weapons and Survival Equipment trades for both RAF and IDT students. Weapons Training Flight deliver basic Weapons trade training plus a large post-graduate training commitment to ensure that the RAF have sufficient personnel qualified in areas such as Explosives Safety Management, Authorised Representatives and Small Arms. Survival Equipment Training Flight delivers basic SE trade training plus post-graduate training, in the form of courses such as for Night Vision Goggles and the Personal Radio Communicator.
  • Specific areas of ATW provide underpinning academic knowledge required for systems training; Management and Promotion training to newly promoted Corporals and Sergeants; plus lifelong engineering skills including electrical and mechanical hand skills, aviation policy and documentation training, electronic asset management and human factors training. Pre-employment courses include corrosion awareness, early failure detection and aviation fibre optic maintenance.
  • Military Training Wing (MTW): is responsible for the efficient management of Phase 2 trainees and IDT students of No1 SofTT. It also provides and develops all military skills, physical fitness, leadership, team, personal and Force Development activity for trainees of No1 SofTT and both military and civilian permanent staff at the RAF Cosford site.
  • The decision to implement a discreet split in the responsibility for the management of ‘training delivery’ (in ATW) and ‘trainee management’ (in MTW) has stemmed from the combined needs to deliver multi-skilling in the on-aircraft engineering trades and in anticipation of the ‘House System’ for Defence Training Establishments in the future.
  • Training Development Wing (TDW): is established to manage all aspects of curriculum development within the Defence Aeronautical Engineering Training Environment. This approach ensures that the strategic and operational AE training development needs of all three Services are satisfied in an efficient and effective manner. TDW operates under the Defence Systems Approach to Training and is thus able to analyse customers’ requirements; develop a balanced curriculum to meet those needs efficiently and effectively and internally validate the effectiveness of the process.

Note: Having undertaken Phase 1 initial training at RAF Halton, the trade of Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic (AMM) is the first step on the route to becoming either a Mechanical or Avionics Aircraft Technician (A Tech (M) or A Tech (Av)). Trainee AMMs undertake a 26-week (Phase 2) course at RAF Cosford before an initial tour of approximately 18 months on a front-line squadron. Thereafter, individuals return to RAF Cosford for a second course of training (Phase 3) to technician-level.

Post April 2013, the No 1 SofTT became a streamlined Formed Unit under the command of an Aerosystems Engineer Wing Commander, within DSAE at RAF Cosford. This involved the restructuring of the squadrons to allow No 1 SofTT to focus more on training delivery, with centralised training support activities linked to those governed by the wider HQ DSAE. As such No 1 SoTT now comprises:

  • Headquarters: Quality Assurance; Business & Standards; Planning and Scheduling; and Induction Training
  • Trenchard Squadron: Ownership of all trainees and students; Welfare and duty of care; and Trainee development programmes
  • 238 Squadron: Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic (AMM) training; and Weapons Technician aircraft handling training
  • Mechanical Training Squadron: Mechanical hand skills generic training; and Mechanical Technician training
  • Aerosystems Training Squadron: Electrical hand skills generic training; Avionics Technician training; Weapons Technician training; Survival Equipment Fitter training; and Human Factors training

2.4     No 1 Radio School

Part of the Defence School of Communications and Information Systems (DSCIS) (see Section 3.0 below) with its HQ at Blandford, No 1 Radio School is responsible for Phase 2 and 3 training of RAF Trade Group 4 (Information and Communication Technology (ICT)) personnel.

No1 Radio School trains ICT Technicians to meet the RAF’s requirement for a huge range of complex communication, computers, information networks, sensors and detection systems in order to successfully undertake air operations across the globe.

The role of ICT technicians is to enable, operate and maintain the full range of ICT employed by the RAF. At one end of the spectrum they need the traditional engineering skills required to maintain airfield and air defence systems and the other end they are responsible for the management of complex LAN, WAN and other information systems. ICT technicians play a vital role in delivering the information required by both commanders and front line operators to execute effective operations. They are often employed in tri-service and multi-national environments.

2.5     Defence School of Photography

Part of the Joint Intelligence Training Group (JITG) (formerly the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre (DISC)) with its HQ at Chicksands, the Defence School of Photography (DSOP) is responsible for Phase 2 and 3 photographic training for all 3 Services.

DSOP is dedicated to Defence photographic training and the vast majority of the DSOP’s learning population is operationally focused. However, for most of DSOP’s trainees, photography is not their primary duty in the Services; rather, to fulfil their assigned role they are required to attend DSOP on short, pre-employment training courses to meet Defence requirements. Those students who undertake the 28-week long career course also gain an Advanced Apprenticeship in Photo Imaging.

On 31 December 2014 there were 192 military photographers (unrounded data) and split by rank and service included:

Royal Navy British Army Royal Air Force
Warrant Officer x~
Chief Petty Officer x5
Petty Officer x10
Leading Hand x20
Warrant Officer Class 1 x~
Warrant Officer Class 2 x~
Staff Sergeant x5
Sergeant x10
Corporal x15
Warrant Officer x~
Flight Sergeant x5
Sergeant x25
Corporal x35
Senior Aircraftman/woman x55

The data has been rounded to the nearest 5, and ~ indicates zero or rounded down to zero.

2.6     RAF School of Physical Training

Reporting to the Officer Commanding Base Support Wing (OC BSW), the RAF School of Physical Training (S of PT) is responsible for the delivery of Phase 2 specialist training to specialist Personnel Branch Officers and Physical Training Instructors (PTI).

The School also provides professional Phase 3 career training for all ranks across the RAF’s PTI cadre, including Trade Management Training for substantive Corporals and Sergeants. It also has responsibility for course and syllabus design; accreditation and validation of learning; and through-life support to PTIs.

2.7     DSAE Satellite Sites

The DSAE (Gosport) element consists of the Royal Navy Air Engineering and Survival School (RNAESS) at HMS Sultan in Gosport. The school operates four strands of training, namely Air Engineering Mechanics, Air Engineering Artificers, Survival Training and Air Engineering Officers.

DSAE (Arborfield) in conjunction with the Technology Branch, which forms part of the Arborfield element of DSEME, is responsible for training all REME aviation technicians, artificers and engineering officers. The Technology Branch is responsible for teaching academic subjects such as electronic theory and the theory of flight, while DCAE (Arborfield) covers, engineering techniques, aircraft systems and equipment training on the lynx and gazelle helicopters.

DSAE (Cranwell) is responsible for Phase 2a specialist training for RAF Aerosystems Engineering Officers; some pre-employment specialist training for all three Services, MOD civilians and industry; and support to engineer and logistics training at RAF Cranwell. The main activity is the Phase 2 Engineer Officer Foundation Training (EOFT) course for the Aerosystems specialisation. The 32-week course prepares junior engineer officers for their duties in their first and second professional appointments by providing a solid engineering foundation and by developing their skills as ‘Resource Managers’, ‘Professional Engineers’ and ‘Military Commanders’ in an engineering environment. This course is also attended by IDT students.

3.0     Defence School of Communications and Information Systems

The Defence College of Communications and Information Systems (DCCIS), formed on 01 April 2004 as a result of the Defence Training Review, delivers training and education for up to 10,000 service students per annum, ranging from two week specialist courses to Masters level degree packages. On 01 October 2012 the Defence College of Communications and Information Systems became the Defence School of Communications and Information Systems (DSCIS) and a school of the newly formed Defence College of Technical Training. Figure 2 provides an overview of the DSCIS.

00.10,04d - Fig1Figure 2: Overview of the Defence School of Communications and Information Systems

The DCCIS, commanded by a Brigadier, is a Defence Training Establishment (DTE) and delivers single-Service and overseas CIS training. HQ DCCIS provides the governance for the delivery of Army, RAF and RN CIS training. It also initiates and delivers training and organisational change to support the delivery of training to Service personnel who deliver information and communication services on, and in support of, operations.

3.1     Headquarters DSCIS

The Commandant DCCIS is also the Blandford Garrison Commander and is supported in this task by the Commanding Officer (CO) Blandford Garrison Support Unit. The DCCIS HQ is located in Harrogate Building, with an element in Catterick Building and is manned by staff from the RN, Army and RAF as well as by civil servants.

The HQ provides policy budgetary control as well as direction on the current training regimes in the single Service schools, whilst preparing for future changes to the way that CIS training is delivered across the MOD.

3.2     11 Signal Regiment, Royal School of Signals

The main element of the School at Blandford Camp, 11 Sig Regiment, Royal School of Signals (RSS) is the Army’s centre for Communications and Information Systems training for officers and soldiers. The School comprises training delivery and training support elements as well as providing supervisory care for all students undergoing training.

The RSS has training facilities for cable and fibre optics, computer laboratories, mobile radio, trunk and satellite systems. These are backed by a full range of training support facilities, a technical library and both electronic and technical workshops.

3.3     No 1 Radio School

No1 Radio School has responsibility for training TG4 (ICT technicians), Future Engineering Officers under the Basic Entry Foundation Degree Scheme and Engineering (Communications and Electronics) (Eng (CE)) Officers. The School is focused on meeting Defence needs for current and future ICT and Eng (CE) training and although it still trains for the maintenance and operation of legacy systems, emphasis is geared to the delivery of Information Management and network enabled services. It also incorporates the Aerial Erector School at RAF Digby and has responsibility for Engineering Officer Foundation Training for the (Eng (CE)) specialisation from DSAE (Cranwell).

3.4     Royal Navy CIS Training Unit

The CIS Training Unit (CISTU) is responsible for all RN Information Systems (IS) administrator and maintainer training. This is typically IS modules of career courses but also standalone pre-joining training such as RN Command Support System (RNCSS), NavyStar and the Joint Operations Command System (JOCS).

4.0     Defence School of Electro-Mechanical Engineering

The Defence College of Electro-Mechanical Engineering (DCEME) was formed on 02 April 2004 and brought together a number of separate Service training organisations, all of which were delivering forms of electro-mechanical engineering, with the aim of exploiting synergies to improve training delivery and output, and increase efficiency and effectiveness. DCEME became the Defence School of Electro-Mechanical Engineering (DSEME) on 01 October 2012.

DSEME runs courses in partnership with other training providers, including external companies, in order to deliver the best value for money for defence without compromising standards.

4.1     Headquarters DSEME

HQ DSEME provides command, control and oversight of all DSEME schools to enable the delivery of quality training.

4.2     Royal Navy School of Marine Engineering

The Royal Navy School of Marine Engineering (RNSME) delivers all professional marine engineering training to officers, artificers and mechanics of the Royal Navy as well as increasing numbers from the Royal Logistic Corps’ Port and Maritime Regiment and the Royal Air Force.

RNSME trains up to 8,500 students per year across nearly 1200 different courses. These courses range from Systems Engineering and Management Courses for British and foreign Marine Engineer Officers; through ME Artificers’ Training and Engineering Technician courses to particular engineering disciplines. This latter includes providing training in the principles of operation and maintenance of electrical systems including electrical power generation, distribution and electrical propulsion equipment; systems management, administration, maintainer and operator procedural training using a number of machinery control simulators; specialist training in ship structures, stability, environmental compliance, lifting, slinging and Health & Safety issues; practical training in the operation and maintenance of machinery including: gas turbines, diesel engines, outboard motors, transmissions, refrigeration and chilled water plants, hydraulic systems and a wide variety of auxiliary machinery currently fitted in HM Ships; Engineering Administration and Management as well as the provision of practical engineering trades, ranging from basic fitting and turning through coppersmithing and pipework to highly skilled nuclear welding.

4.3     School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering

The role of the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (SEME) is to provide the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) with trained Regular and Territorial Army (TA), electro-mechanical tradesmen. Additionally it provides training for Royal Marines (RM), RAF and civilian equipment support staff, together with IDT students.

SEME is organised on the basis of a Headquarters, a Technical Training Wing and SEME Regiment (10 Training Battalion). The Regiment is responsible for all administration and regimental training undertaken by both staff and students. Technical training, amounting to about 90% of output, is provided under contract by Vosper Thornycroft (Bordon). Military ethos and Recovery Mechanic training is provided by a REME and RM military training delivery wing using the large, heathland training areas surrounding Bordon. The trades taught in SEME include:

  • Armourer;
  • Vehicle Mechanic;
  • Recovery Mechanic;
  • Technical Support Specialist (Technical Storemen);
  • Metalsmith; and
  • REME Artificer (Vehicles) & Artificer (Weapons)

Training is provided in a progressive manner with tradesmen returning to SEME at various stages of their careers to further the scope and depth of their technological knowledge. Over 450 courses of over 150 different course types are provided by SEME, whilst at any time up to 1200 students are in training. Every year, over 4,000 students undertake training at SEME.

4.4     The School of Electronic and Aeronautical Engineering

The School of Electronic and Aeronautical Engineering (SEAE) delivers a wide range of courses to technicians and engineers from the Army, RN, RAF, MOD agencies and IDT students. SEAE trains approximately 1130 students per year on approximately 53 different courses. The trades taught at SEAE include:

  • Avionics Technician;
  • Aircraft Technician; and
  • Electronic Technician.

4.5     No 4 School of Technical Training

The No 4 School of Technical Training (No 4 SofTT) is located at MOD St Athan, South West of Cardiff in Wales. No 4 SofTT delivers the Phase 2 and 3 training in a range of electrical, mechanical and workshop skills to approximately 300 students a year across 90 courses. The trades taught at No 4 SofTT onclude:

  • General Technician (Mechanical);
  • General Technician (Electrical); and
  • General Technician (Workshop).

No 4 SofTT also continues to develop RAF personnel throughout their careers via the Training Development and Management Training Flight and a variety of equipment specific courses.

4.6     REME Arms School

The REME Arms School, based at Hazebrouck Barracks in Arborfield, delivers training in REME command skills and engineering management to officers, soldiers and Equipment Support Staff. The School manages the delivery of officer and artificer training across the Arms School, SEAE and SEME based in Bordon. In addition to REME students, the School provides training for students from the other arms, RN, RAF, the Civil Service and IDT students.

5.0     Defence School of Marine Engineering

The Defence School of Marine Engineering (DSMarE) is one of four schools within the Defence College of Technical Training (DCTT), part of the RAFs No 22 (Training) Group.

DSMarE delivers all professional marine engineering training across Defence. Whilst the majority of the students are from the Royal Navy they also come from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the Royal Logistic Corps, the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and a spectrum of international navies.

The school trains approximately 6,500 students per year across 350 different course types. These courses range from Systems Engineering and Management Courses for British and foreign Marine Engineer Officers; through Engineering Technician courses to particular engineering disciplines. The latter includes providing theoretical and practical training in the operation and maintenance of: electrical systems including electrical power generation; distribution and electrical propulsion equipment; gas turbines; diesel engines; outboard motors; refrigeration and chilled water-plants; hydraulic systems, ship structures; stability; environmental compliance; lifting and slinging and Health & Safety issues.

Whenever suitable training is conducted using a blend of training methods, this includes the use of interactive e-courseware, simulation and hands-on ‘live’ practice.


7 thoughts on “Defence College of Technical Training

  1. Thanks very much for the info Andrew, I’ve recently tried to search the web for who would be the preferred provider delivering the technical training, mainly on the Aircraft engineering side. I was a former RAF Aircraft mechanical technical instructor, spookily enough previously at RAF Lyneham approximately 15 years ago at the C130 Hercules maintenance school when it was operating.
    I currently have a house at Lyneham village which is rented out at present and would like to return there if a job opportunity should arise.
    With the information you have provided I guess I will contact Babcock directly and see what happens from there. Therefore I much appreciate the help with the info you’ve supplied which will enable me to move forward. Regards Graham Wakeling

  2. I am very interested to find out who the preferred technical training provider will be for the new Tri services college at former RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire, and any contact numbers.

    1. Existing REME training at Arborfield and Bordon is carried out by Babcock International Group PLC. Tranche 1 (REME) is expected to move by Sept 2015 and training to start by March 2016. Babcock in their End of Year Report, published 14 May 2013, stated they were 1 of 3 pre-qualified bidders for the training package for DCTT. Their latest Annual Report, published June 2014, states they are currently the sole source bidder for the DCTT Electro-Mechanical Training Contract which includes the integration of Bordon and Arborfield Schools and they expect to achieve contract award for an initial 5-year period by July 2014.

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