Successor submarine recruitment

The Successor submarine programme will deliver the replacement for the Vanguard fleet of nuclear submarines

This guidance was withdrawn on

This page has been with archived as the recruitment campaign is closed and no longer open for applications.

The Astute Submarine

The Astute Submarine

Man’s most complex machine

The project has now exited the concept design phase with the broad configuration of the submarine and its systems now understood. Work has now begun on the detailed design which will further develop the conceptual solution into a detailed suite of information ready for manufacture.

It is the most complex and high value engineering programme underway anywhere within the United Kingdom. The complexity of the technology and costs involved dwarf those of the London 2012 Olympics Infrastructure Programme. Some £900 million was spent developing the submarine concept design and up to £3 billion will be spent developing the detailed designs and ordering long lead items before a final ‘Main Gate’ investment decision is taken in 2016. As previously announced to Parliament, the final cost of the replacement deterrent programme is expected to be some £15-20 billion at 2006/2007 prices.

Some 1,500+ project management, commercial and engineering professionals are now working on Successor within the first tier of suppliers reporting directly to the Ministry of Defence. Large numbers of high value contracts have already been let by these major suppliers and the pace and scale of the work within industry is set to increase rapidly over the coming years.

Put simply, a nuclear submarine is the most complex machine ever conceived and constructed by man. It is totally self-sufficient in terms of air, water, power and all the other life support services required to sustain the crew for several months at a time and comprises some of the most sensitive national security technology available within the UK.

Computer generated image of the Astute Class Submarine

Computer generated image of the Astute Class Submarine

The role of the Ministry of Defence

Recognising the scale of the challenge and the technical risk associated with the programme, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has adopted a different approach for managing the design of the submarine from that applied to the Astute Class. An Integrated Programme Management Team has been established which involves MOD in the day to day running of the project at both a tactical and strategic level. Furthermore, MOD has retained the design authority function ‘in-house’ and is therefore heavily reliant on a small number of highly qualified and experienced engineering personnel to make significant design decisions and approve the designs generated within industry.

As such, the team managing the project are required to become more heavily involved in the engineering design, agreement of technical and capability requirements, and management of budgets and programme schedules than would normally be the case for a procuring organisation. This places additional demands on the professionalism and engineering or project management competence of the individuals within the project team.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute

Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute sails up the Clyde estuary

Work for us

As the pace of the programme increases,MOD is seeking additional high calibre engineers and project managers to join this high tech and exciting project to lead the programme through to the ‘Main Gate’ investment decision and beyond. In recognition of the coming challenge up to an additional twenty roles have been created to focus across a range of technical and programme management disciplines. For the technical roles, previous submarine or maritime design experience is desirable but not a prerequisite, although an ability to work independently, challenge the status quo and make complex judgments based on incomplete information is essential.

We therefore offer a unique opportunity to work on the biggest and most complex engineering programme underway in the UK. We continue to stretch the boundaries of technological achievement whilst challenging ourselves to deliver value for money and capabilities in support of UK national security objectives. We are offering both rewarding and challenging careers and a range of benefits beyond salary which are amongst the most competitive in the current UK employment market. In return for the commitment and dedication that we expect, we can offer a rewarding and structured environment for the future.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute escorted by tugs

Escorted by tugs, Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute sails up the Clyde estuary

Job roles and location

A range of opportunities are available across both engineering and programme or project management focused roles. The opportunities fall across three grades – B2 / Grade 7 (internal applicants only – 1 role), C1 / SEO (approximately 5 roles) and C2 / HEO (approximately 15 roles) and a separate job requisition exists for each grade. See How to apply.

A number of the opportunities would be suitable for candidates without an engineering background. The roles fall into the following broad areas. Expected grades of the posts have also been provided although the exact distribution of grades and job roles will be agreed as part of the selection process.

  • B2 (internal only): Engineering System Owner for Secondary Propulsion (see Civil Service Jobs Requisition)

  • C1/C2: Engineering and project management of submarine subsystems in the electrical, mechanical, propulsion, combat systems, strategic weapons system and naval architecture teams

  • C2: Programme and delivery management responsibility for those items of equipment provided into the industrial programme by the UK government

  • C2: Delivery of support and advice relating to the build ability and spatial arrangement of the submarine design; submarine operating experience would be useful in the latter area

  • C1/C2: Responsibility within the safety and assurance teams with a focus on quality management, information assurance or environmental engineering

  • C1: Responsibility for functional integration across boat systems

  • C2: Management of the accumulation of the engineering evidence necessary to support the main investment business case in support of the Main Gate investment decision expected in 2016

  • C2: Dedicated roles relating to corrosion management, supportability, survivability and other specialist monitoring systems unique to submarines

  • C1/C2: “Chief of Staff” type support to senior engineering managers with an emphasis on financial reporting, team planning and coordination, documentation review and resource management

Individuals applying through the Civil Service Jobs system will be considered against the full range of roles available at each grade, however, applicants are encouraged to specify a preference within their application relating to the opportunities outlined above. Those applying for the Band C1 (Grade 8 / SEO) roles ‘may’ also be considered for suitability at Band C2 (Grade 9 / HEO) if found to be unsuitable at the higher grade and if opportunities remain at the lower grade once specific applicants to that grade have already been selected. Applicants may apply to more than one requisition.

The MOD project team is based and managed from Bristol, however, many individuals are permanently based at the premises of the main industrial contractor in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Roles are therefore available in both Bristol and Barrow and a final decision will be made following a discussion between the prospective line manager and the individual. A location preference may be specified within the application.

Rewards and benefits

A competitive package of benefits is being offered including a generous defined benefit pension scheme, flexible working arrangements, and excellent training and career development opportunities. The salary at B2 / Grade 7 (internal applicants only) is £47,942 - £57,245; at C1 / SEO it is £35,648 - £42,565 and at C2 / HEO it is £29,258 - £34,936. Additional retention allowances may be available for some specialist roles once the required experience and training criteria have been met. For internal applicants, relocation expenses may be available for those wishing to relocate to Barrow although this requires formal agreement internally before it can be offered. For external applicants a ‘new starter’ package may be available.

Astute class submarine HMS Ambush

Astute class submarine HMS Ambush is pictured during sea trials near Scotland

Further information

For further information on current opportunities and to be kept informed when future campaigns are opened, please email:, including “Successor Recruitment” within the subject line.

Published 10 June 2013