• 12 week scheme will upskill RN personnel in key principles around tech innovation and business management; 
  • Curriculum to include introduction to the technology landscape and basics of coding, product design, finance and marketing
  • 22 RN personnel will take part in the full-time programme, spending three days a week on placement in different startups.

The Royal Navy has this week launched a new virtual training scheme – in partnership with GovTech venture firm PUBLIC  – to provide personnel with in-depth coaching and mentoring in innovation and new technologies.

Over the next 12 weeks, 22 Royal Navy personnel will participate in The Percy Hobart Fellowship’, an immersive training programme designed to increase participants’ exposure to the UK innovation and technology landscape. 

Those taking part are from all fighting arms of the navy including Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Fleet Air Arm and Submarine Service, as well as from the Civil Service and are from all grades, rates and ranks from Able Seaman to Commander.

The Percy Hobart Fellowship curriculum has been developed to enhance the capacity of specialist RN personnel to identify the needs of today’s Royal Navy – and to secure the most effective technologies and tools to meet these needs.

First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said:

I am delighted that this week, 22 members of the Royal Navy, drawn from all ranks, rates and grades of our Whole Force, have embarked on an exciting and challenging 12-week learning and development journey. As the first cohort to undertake an amazing opportunity to gain practical experience in technology innovation, product development, data analytics and visualisation, they will form the foundation of a growing community, a ‘fellowship’, of like-minded Royal Navy people skilled in military related innovation. 
“Working alongside commercial entrepreneurs and developers in a number of fields, reflecting the broad applicability of innovation within the Royal Navy and Defence, the ‘Percy Hobart Fellowship’, named after the legendary and somewhat unconventional military engineer and innovator, will facilitate a diverse cadre of thinkers and advisors with strong links and a deep understanding of how to initiate, lead and successfully deliver innovation over the coming years and decades.
“That the Royal Navy has been invited to lead with this inaugural pilot is testament to the brilliant people we employ, the freedom of thought and invention they routinely demonstrate, and our commitment as a first class employer to empower our people to realise their potential.

At the end of the programme, those taking part will have developed a broad understanding of the defence innovation landscape. Teaching and mentoring will address the latest advances in technology and their implications for defence,  so that the Royal Navy and those involved can effectively harness the potential of these developments right now and as we progress over the coming years. 

Further topics will include:

The technology landscape: ensuring those responsible for defence procurement have a robust understanding of the latest developments in the technology sector, and how these developments apply to defence; 
Fundamentals of tech: introductions to coding, product design, development and management. Fellows should be sufficiently skilled to appreciate the detailed aspects of technology products and to make informed decisions that secure innovation while delivering value for money.

Buying to Innovate: how to ensure that defence procurement processes are transparent and effective in delivering innovative products and technology.

In addition, they will spend three days per week on placement at a tech startup – offering fellows an opportunity to better understand supply-side challenges in the technology sector. The aim of these placements will be to improve future defence procurement by ensuring fellows can more effectively engage with suppliers based on lived-experience.

PUBLIC’s CEO, Daniel Korski said:

“For the United Kingdom’s armed forces to remain among the world’s best, it will have to be at the forefront of innovation. And that means it’s critical that those responsible for innovation are taught to think critically, to identify modern defence innovation needs and to be as agile as the companies from which they procure.”

To support their learning, fellows will have access to percyhobart.co.uk – which includes further details on the programme, as well as resources and information that complement the curriculum.