Hi Danielle, Firstly the RFA is not the RN despite what some folk on here will claim. The main customer is the RN but the RFA is a civilian organisation. We work closely with NATO and allied navies.
The RFA are better paid, once you are gainfully employed by them and not on the apprenticeship scheme.
As far as your interview goes - read up on the ships within the RFA, what they do and what weapons they carry. Also the interviewer may ask you about your reasons for wanting to join the RFA, so think of something appropriate.
Remember the RFA flies the flag in support of the RN's overseas operations & the UKs foreign interests, they support humanitarian work such as disaster relief and take part in anti-piracy in the Arabian Sea/Indian Ocean & anti drug work in the Caribbean. Also you may have read recently about RFA Argus and her work around Sierra Leone.
The training takes place at HMS Raleigh then usually onto a ship after doing a fire-fighting course. You will be taught all you need to know to take you on your first sea trip... this will be from tying a reef knot to replenishment at sea.
Good luck with your application and mibbe see you out on a ship sometime in the near future.
If you have any questions send me a message, i cant always get on here when am at sea but will try and answer any questions you have.
Arguably they are naval officers in the same way as a naval architect need not be in the navy or design and build warships- or naval auxiliaries. Most if not all RFA officers are on List 7 of the Royal Naval Reserve.
As for 'merchant seamen', you may be hard pushed to find an RFA officer or rating who has ever been on articles in a commercial, 'merchant' ship. And then there are RFA officers on the Naval Staff, I know a handful of RFA officers who have been RN officers ( still hold a commission) ....the end is listless.
Rather than aping RN officers, most RFA officers of my acquaintance consider themselves superior-in a non condescending way- to RN officers given the far greater length of their sea service and the very hands on nature of their work. None of this three sea jobs to MEO malarky. You'd be hard pushed to find an RN officer who'd disagree or would take offence at the notion.
I could go on. Even a MN officer is a naval officer.