QA Launches Apprenticeship Academy for Defence Sector to Bridge Skills Gap, Empower SMEs, and Champion Diverse Workforce

QA are delivering a national portfolio of apprenticeships in Data & AI, Cyber Security, IT and Cloud, Network Engineering and Product Management specifically for the defence sector community – further harnessing a wealth of mastery with QA’s longstanding experience.

Collaborating with defence supply chain networks Plexal and The 5% Club, the academy has come to fruition in response to the Ministry of Defence’s Digital Strategy for Defence – aiming to provide leading-edge skills to combat the geopolitical threats facing the UK, its territories and alliances.

The need for greater parity for genders and ethnic groups within the UK Defence industry is prominent. QA is proud to be a partner of Women in Defence UK and a signatory of the Women in Defence Charter, groups established to promote gender equity and equality in the defence sector. QA’s Defence Academy will aim to accelerate this agenda.

"This academy is a collaborative effort born from the recognition of a critical challenge and the development of a solution," said Toby Barnard, QA's Managing Director for Public Sector.

"It will equip SMEs with a valuable opportunity to expand their talent pool, driving innovation and development within the defence sector."

“We are delighted to be supporting the QA Digital Defence Academy, which is a great approach to widen the participation of SMEs in delivering digital apprenticeships and helping address national gaps in key digital skills,” said Mark Cameron OBE, Chief Executive, The 5% Club.

“The approach taken by QA in forming the Academy is aligned to our own purpose and really helps Defence Sector SME employers act positively to increase the range of apprenticeship schemes they offer, and then ensuring those schemes are open to all, irrespective of individual characteristics, social background or personal circumstance.”

Andrew Roughan, CEO of Plexal said: "Closing the skills gap in the UK's tech sector is essential for us to remain a competitive nation and deliver on the government ambition of becoming a science and tech superpower by 2030. Plexal has been a long-time partner of QA and we're proud to support the launch of the Digital Defence Academy.”

While the Academy is a national programme, Cheltenham’s specific proposal is crucial for fostering a community among our partners in the Golden Valley, the local community, and the upcoming Defence Academy.

The Academy, geared towards individuals already in defence or considering the sector, will be inviting businesses in the Southwest of England to hear more at our celebration event on Wednesday 17th April.

If you are interested in attending the event, please email

For more information about the academy, click here.

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