The Institute for Apprenticeships has appointed another military man as its second-in-command, following a “fair and open competition”.

Robert Nitsch CBE, the army’s director of personnel for the past three years, will take on the role of chief operating officer in the next few months, the institute announced today.

The IfA’s chief executive Sir Gerry Berragan, a former adjutant general in the army, said he had worked with Mr Nitsch in previous roles and “know that he will an excellent fit for the post”

“He brings a wealth of senior leadership and practical experience of optimising performance to the Institute,” he said.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected to join the IfA at such a pivotal time in the evolution of technical education,” Mr Nitsch said.

“I look forward to joining the excellent team at the Institute and contributing to the delivery of this great endeavour.”

Mr Nitsch joined the army in 1983, and worked his way up to become director of personnel for the army in June 2015.

Other senior army roles included general officer commanding support command from August 2013, director of manning and chief employment officer from June 2012, and chief of staff to the adjutant general from April 2011.

He was named CBE in the New Year’s Honours in 2014.

Sir Gerry was appointed chief executive of the IfA in November last year, having previously served as a board member since January 2017.

He revealed in an interview with FE Week in January that he’d been selected without competing directly against any other candidates, and as such had been appointed for just a two-year period.

His army career included a period as director general personnel from February 2011 to August 2012, before his appointment as adjutant general.

Both role were based in Andover, as were Mr Nitsch’s roles at the time.

The role of chief operating officer is new, and follows the departure of former deputy chief executive Mike Keoghan at the end of January.

It comes with an annual salary of around £120,000, according to the candidate information pack.

Mr Nitsch, who will report directly to Sir Gerry, will be responsible for the daily operation of the IfA, and will oversee six deputy directors.