Deck officer recruitment

#1
Having spent the last 18 months making sure that I meet all the eligibility criteria for Deck Officer Cadet I'm ready to apply.

I called the AFCO and they confirmed that they're not recruiting at present but the person I spoke to couldn't tell me when recruitment is likely to reopen. Does anyone here have any unofficial information about the likelihood of recruitment in the next couple of years?

As an aside, officially experience at sea isn't required but am I at a significant disadvantage by applying before building up some experience?
 
#2
I called the AFCO and they confirmed that they're not recruiting at present but the person I spoke to couldn't tell me when recruitment is likely to reopen. Does anyone here have any unofficial information about the likelihood of recruitment in the next couple of years?
Was that your local AFCO or RFA central recruitment number as per careers website? I am surprised that recruitment of cadets has stopped. AFAIK it has been continuous for over a decade, throughout recent cuts, and there is still a shortage of deck officers in the RFA. You are the first person I have heard of to be turned away with 'not recruiting just now'.

As an aside, officially experience at sea isn't required but am I at a significant disadvantage by applying before building up some experience?
No disadvantage at all. Most cadets have no previous seagoing experience, though a family background in seafaring doesn't hurt. Are you looking at the maritime voluntary sector? Anything to help you stand out from the crowd and to prove an ability to cope with the lifestyle wouldn't hurt, but it isn't necessary.
 
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