§ Mr. Churchill
asked the Minister of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the academic opportunities open to officer entrants to the Royal Navy.
§ Mr. Kirk
We have decided on two new measures which will add significantly to the opportunities open to officer entrants to the Royal Navy.474W
First, the existing university cadet entry will be extended to make it a major source of entry. This scheme provides for cadets to attend the university courses of their own choosing as Service officers before their professional training.
Secondly, we shall take advantage of a new degree course recently announced by the City University to offer young Seaman and Supply and Secretariat officers, who enter the Royal Navy through Dartmouth, and who are willing and able to take a degree, the opportunity at the end of their naval training to take a vocationally slanted degree course. This is something that has been lacking in the past.
The City University will be entirely responsible for the standards and the selection of students, but the make-up of the course should suit our purposes very well and we acknowledge the tremendous co-operation that the university has shown in fitting our requirements.
These improvements will ensure that young men of degree ability who are attracted to the Royal Navy as a career will be able to satisfy both their educational and vocational ambitions, though young men without degree ambitions will enjoy equal opportunities in their professional careers in the Royal Navy. We aim to achieve a common professional standard for each officer irrespective of the different methods of entry.
In addition, under the existing University Nominations Scheme the very best direct entry officers will still be able to be nominated to universities two years after they have entered the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. Also, all Engineer officers are required to have a degree and the Royal Naval Engineering College at Manadon exists for this purpose.