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A few questions from an impatient applicant

I've recently got my date for my psychometric test and have been told I can expect to be attending training nights by the end of November, which I'm very much looking forward to. However, I'm keen to learn a little more about the initial training and where it leads given the recent and ongoing changes to the RNR (I think) I'm aware of, having attended a recruitment evening in early summer.

Firstly, which branches are open to reservists? Do they vary by location? I've applied as a warfare officer with my eye on hydro/meteo/oceanography as I spend time at sea working with that kind of equipment; I don't know whether those roles are available to RNRists, though. Any up-to-date wisdom would be appreciated!

Secondly, how does weekend training progress? Does one follow a specific training programme of 12 (or thereabouts) weekends a year +'camp' or is it possible to get involved in all the training that one has time for? Will my choice of branch affect how much training I have access too?

Which unit are you hoping to join?
As for branches, there is no direct corrolation with regulars, as the RNR tend to fill niche capabilities.
Info ops - tend to use non-lethal force to shape the battle space
Amphib Ops - embark in the Amphibs and organise and run the ship to shore programme of landing craft etc
MTO - liaison with merchant marine
SM Ops - run the water space to ensure submarines can operate safely
CIS - what it says on the in, run CIS networks
logs - run forward logistic sites
Prob a few more, but that's a starter for ten.
My advice, contact the recruiting officer or your poc at the unit, and ask to pop down on a drill night and get a brief.

Good luck
Last edited:
Thanks for the replies, it's HMS Vivid that I'm hoping to join, I've been through the usual faff of my enquiries and applications being repeatedly filed as RMR but finally have the ball rolling in the right direction.

It certainly sounds like there are plenty of options. I'll make a few calls, I didn't want to pester the unit too much while I was waiting to hear about my application.
Vivid will be glad to hear from you. It is their job to recruit people, and that can only be achieved by talking to perspective recruits (and that's exactly what you are).
There are some bitter and twisted people on this site who have never served in the RNR and tend to rubbish many posts, and posters. Bottom line, GO FOR IT, the unit will want to hear from you.

Enjoy and I look forward to serving alongside you.
AFG, thanks, as always, for your objective and helpful comments (not). Some reservists are proud of what they do, and are encouraging others to have an equally rewarding time serving their country. You are so bitter and twisted that you make a dripping septic tank smell like a rose! Banter is one thing (and bleddy funny) but you are just so negative it is untrue. Take a day off for once and say something positive about an arm of the RN that you have never served in.
And yet again, instead of constructively addressing the points raised by personnel who tried to serve in the RNR, you go straight for the ad hominem. Should I start taking count of all the occasions you've failed to engage in an argument?
Get a life.
Take a happy pill.
Consider for just 30 seconds of your pathetically sad life, that some people do actually like the RNR, and even more so, despite the best efforts of Capita and CNR, they do join, over 250 this FY alone have done so.
I don't see 250+ negative posts from frustrated "nearly-joiners" on here, so the balance of probabilities is that it does work (not well, but it does work).
And while your at it, see the bish for counselling.


War Hero
SR - I think ATG is not dripping. He is rightly highlighting what on the surface appear to be a regular series of nearly identical complaints by joiners about their process.

250 joining this year - how much has the RNR spent on recruiting to date across all 13 reserve units and satellite units. At present this figure equates across the RNR to barely 20 people per unit all year. how many recruiting events have people gone to, how many expressions of interest, how many are lost along the way?

What would be helpful for context is accurate figures to show how many we have to get interested to turn into an actual recruit as I think this is where more could be done.


Lantern Swinger
That information is held - a per unit breakdown of percentages (and presumably actual numbers) of people getting through various stages of the pipeline. Different units have very different numbers for conversion from expressions of interest to getting into probation or properly through everything. The medical seems to be a major blocker where almost anything makes you TMU.

So a cheeky FoI request might be what you are looking for.

There are really two RNRs, the unit and the branch/specialisation. Specialisations seem to have a great deal of freedom from centre in how they run themselves. Units seem to have very little individual control over what they seemed to be judged on - recruitment. From my limited viewpoint there seems to be precious little attitude of "let's see what the good units are doing and encourage best practice" and instead lots of direction from centre.

CMR could do a lot worse than divvying up the majority (if not all) of the recruitment budget on a proportional basis per unit and trusting the Commanders to grow the units they presumably are enthusiastic about. Then do the whole measure, evaluate, promote best practice thing.
What would be helpful for context is accurate figures to show how many we have to get interested to turn into an actual recruit as I think this is where more could be done.

I ask that question of my unit's recruiters every so often. The number I get back is usually on the order of for every 100 expressions of interest, expect to get one or two people out the other end of Raleigh.

Obviously with such a small statistical set to work with, just one or two keen kids turning up can double that success rate, so take it with a pinch of salt, but that's the kind of numbers I hear.
Your question reflects an opinion (obviously not a statement of fact, as you haven't even served in the RNR) that the RNR isn't working.
The RNR is working. (Fact, a bloke called CMR, and another called 1SL, said so). It may not be working as well as it could be, but it is working.
I don't believe it was a bunch of reservists who were in the manpower planning section of the RN, who seem to have got the sums wrong for the regulars?
When you know what you are talking about, start typing, until then bee quiet, then we will only think you are a complete buffoon.
So, I might not know anything, however, the Defence Statistics Service do know. Indeed, they are charged with knowing quite a lot.

The Maritime Reserve (MR) is to grow, under Future Reserves 2020, to a target of a trained strength of 3100 [1] by the end of FY18. By 1 Apr 14, the MR, had increased by 40 people from 01 Apr 12 (the baseline for FR2020) [2]. The growth targets are shaped in a way such that the early targets are smaller (and thus more achievable) increasing steeply from the end of FY15. As an example [1]:

End End End End End End

FY 13 FY 14 FY 15 FY 16 FY 17 FY 18
1,780 1,790 1,900 2,320 2,790 3,100

The change from 14 - 15 is 10; the change from 17 - 18 is 310.

The RN has already recognised that trying to get ab initio recruits to meet this trained strength requirement is highly unlikely. Therefore, they are pushing hard to tilt the ratio of new entrants:previous service entrants from about 6:1 to about 2:1. The precise data is [3]


FY 14

FY 15

FY 16

FY 17

FY 18

Trained Entrants






New Recruits












Thus, if the MR is to rely on people like 2DD and PompeyPusser, it needs to make the process significantly better. This is especially pertinent given that the general VO rate from the Naval Service is about 520/year [4], thus in order to meet it's own targets, the MR must attract 45% of everyone leaving the Naval Service.

The other side of this is the recruitment, training and retention of enough new entrants. Given that the process from starting Ph1 (New Entry training) to being a trained AB can be between 2 - 4 years (based on not doing continuous courses in a "regular" style), we must be getting those people in the door, right now. The OP of this thread should be aware of the background and circumstances of the Service he is joining, and what is likely to be required of him.

So, you may think I'm a buffoon, 1SL and CMR might think it'll work (but then lots of things have been promised before and never achieved, 32 FF/DD I'm looking at you), but the numbers are telling a different story. And the numbers don't care if you have or haven't served in the RNR.

Your ad hominem attacks may now continue........

[1] - pg 2, table 1.
[2] - Page page 23 table 6a.
[3] - table 2
[4] - table 12a
You said it all fella, you might know anything!
the consistent slagging off of everything the RNR does to try and fix things is not really helping.
We, in the RNR are doing our best, and we don't need the "help" of those who, in your own words "might not know anything", unless of course, you start to be constructive.

Now that would be refreshing.

However, all is fair in love and war, and despite the posts etc, I would still buy you a beer if we met up. I do admire your passion, and do genuine feel your pain, I just wish we could work towards fixing the problem, not making it worse.

I'm having a nice glass of red now, and I hope you are too

there seems to be some repressed (or not so repressed) hostility to the Reserves, a group of people whom I have found to be committed and dedicated.

Yes they have some challenges and perhaps the target is looking difficult to achieve. This doesn't change the larger aspiration and given that the statistics are looking less positive than the RNR would like, perhaps you could help the process rather than looking for the negative.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;

Good people are working hard at all levels to achieve the targets so perhaps you could get off their backs and offer some assistance? As they are helping protect the freedoms you enjoy, perhaps you could just thank them and go about your business?

Thank you all for your comments. Though I was at first bit peeved by the slow process and being signed up for the marines, once I attended the recruitment evening at HMS Vivid and talked to the reservists there it put my mind at rest. They were obviously trying to quicken things up at their end and gave us lots of information about the application process given the short time available. It does seem a little silly to have to wait nearly a month to sit a simple psychometric test, which could conceivably be done by tens of people at a time but I don't think the blame rests with the unit on this one.

I was in the UOTC for a few years back in the day and though I certainly got a lot out of it, there were times when I wondered if all the administration was done after a few too many pints in the mess. I remember getting a call from a navy instructor in the middle of summer asking why I was late for a course that I was never booked on; someone else could have had that place.

I appreciate that you'll get messed about every so often as a reservist, perhaps even more so when structures are changing, but I'd like to think the training, new friends and personal achievement make it worth it. Of course I can see that for those with a considerable military background this can just seem like being messed about by barely competent part-timers or by outsourced contractors. Though I would guess many of us don't have the experience of the "real deal" to compare it to.

Hopefully things will get sorted over time to bring things closer to "One Navy" before the military takes its next political kick. I imagine that's likely wishful thinking though.

I can say the once you have navigated the hurdles of the entry process, your destiny is much more under your own control and the environment much less turbulent. As a potential Officer, you are expected to drive much or your development and wise man would look for a mentor or guide early one within both your Unit and Branch. Your career path is well defined until you 'qualify' as an officer and then your training path is defined within your branch.

Decisions get made and things get done by those that 'turn up' so if I had any advice to give, then get fully involved would be it.

Best of luck
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