Case study

National Apprenticeship Week case study - Stewart

Stewart started out as an apprentice and is now a Group Leader at Dstl.

Stewart, Dstl employee

Stewart started out as an apprentice at one of Dstl’s predecessor organisations, the Royal Aircraft Establishment in 1984. Since completing his avionics apprenticeship he has worked on many interesting and important programmes including:

  • leading trials to test and evaluate infra-red sensor systems, cockpit display systems and pilot health monitoring systems
  • running projects dealing with combat identification trials, aerial combat training for fast jets and navigation warfare
  • managing procurement support for Electronic Warfare and Electronic Surveillance systems

As a Group Leader, Stewart is now responsible for the 75 individuals who make up Dstl’s Cyber and Electronic Effects Group and for helping to develop the UK’s cyber capability both within Dstl and externally with suppliers.

Since completing his apprenticeship Dstl has supported Stewart in obtaining various qualifications including an MSc in Defence Systems Engineering and an HND in Electronic and Communications Engineering.

Commenting on his apprenticeship Stewart said:

An apprenticeship is a wonderful way to gain experience in a variety of areas. When I did my apprenticeship I worked in a number of departments which built my technical expertise as well as my project management skills and awareness of planning and running high profile projects. It also gave me the interpersonal skills that are an essential part of the skills needed to manage and lead people.

I really enjoyed my apprenticeship and I’ve had some fantastic experiences. Perhaps the most memorable was when I flew in a Canadian Air Force Dash 7 at the Farnborough Airshow. Despite being fairly large aircraft in the hands of test pilot it got thrown about a fair bit during the display – it was the first time that I had flown and it was an experience that I wouldn’t have had if I’d been working anywhere else.

I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone; especially as you can now study at degree level. By any standards, I have enjoyed a successful career and I am living proof that apprenticeships work.

Dstl is always encouraging its staff to develop their careers and an example of this are the overseas secondments opportunities for those in their early careers. They provide unique experience of some exciting partners and the work they do. An overseas secondment is something I may well consider in the future depending on personal circumstances.

Find out more about Dstl’s apprenticeships

Our cyber trainees have produced a video showing how they honed their skills by developing a highly realistic Honeypot to discover more about hackers methods and help fight future cyber-attacks.


Apply now

Dstl is currently recruiting for five cyber security apprenticeships. Apply now.

Published 9 March 2017