Graduate joining as a rating?

#1
I might be jumping the gun a bit as I haven't graduated yet, I have queries about the suitability of my medical history and I know I have a bit of work to do on my fitness but...

I'm currently in uni and I'm considering joining the Navy after I graduate. I know I want to apply to serve on submarines and having looked at the details of the available roles on the RN website and this forum I'm considering CIS (SM).

My initial thought was that being a graduate with a 4 year integrated Bachelor's and Master's degree, I would be expected to become an officer but (as my degree is not in Engineering) my choice would be between Warfare Officer and Logistics Officer. From reading the forum it seems that if I went with Logistics I wouldn't actually spend all that much time on boats or even at sea at all, which for me would defeat the object of signing up in the first place.

Comparing the official (and unofficial) job descriptions for Warfare Officer with those for CIS, the former inspires a reaction of 'oh, well, I guess I could do that', while I am genuinely excited by the prospect of the latter job.

I'm also not sure if I have a personality suited to becoming an officer (although I suppose the tests and training I'd go through to get there would clear up the issue one way or another), but really I'm considering the rating route because it's genuinely the Navy job I'd most like to do.

Is this a common situation people find themselves in? Will the recruitment people try to convince me to go for officer? Should I go for CIS (SM) or pick an officer role? Will my (over)qualification make any kind of difference once I'm actually on the job as a rating - either positive or negative?

Any other thoughts or advice on the topic welcome.
 
#2
I've had plenty of ratings with degrees working for me. They were the usual spread of good, bad and indifferent. Equally, I've had more than a few non-grad officers working for me (and I've worked for); the same applies.

Do what you want, it'll be what you make of it!


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Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
#3
Fully concur with Alf.

A degree doesn't automatically mean "officer" or higher earnings. There's a common misconception in the lower deck that graduates must always be commissioned officers and you'll often hear "What were the AFCO thinking?" when a well-spoken , educated and intelligent individual joins as a rating.

In any event, if they have what it takes, anyone joining up to around age 30 as a rating can become an Officer with just five GCSEs at a later stage.

A good example is Royal Marines - every recruit troop has a couple or more graduates, one troop of 55 had 17! Around 40% of Royal Marines Other Ranks join educationally qualified for officer.

The world, as they say, is your lobster.
 

jrwlynch

Lantern Swinger
#7
Comparing the official (and unofficial) job descriptions for Warfare Officer with those for CIS, the former inspires a reaction of 'oh, well, I guess I could do that', while I am genuinely excited by the prospect of the latter job.

I'm also not sure if I have a personality suited to becoming an officer (although I suppose the tests and training I'd go through to get there would clear up the issue one way or another), but really I'm considering the rating route because it's genuinely the Navy job I'd most like to do.

Is this a common situation people find themselves in? Will the recruitment people try to convince me to go for officer? Should I go for CIS (SM) or pick an officer role? Will my (over)qualification make any kind of difference once I'm actually on the job as a rating - either positive or negative?

Any other thoughts or advice on the topic welcome.
Not regular RN, but work with them a fair bit...

I've known junior rates with postgraduate degrees and doctorates, I've known officers who gratefully bailed out of education at eighteen to escape to BRNC. (Admittedly, the AB who walked me through - physically and functionally - the water treatment plant aboard a destroyer during my Fleet Time, demonstrating an articulate and fully functional grasp of the necessary chemistry, biology and legislation, probably didn't stay an AB very long - in terms of competence, definitely a "promote!" Didn't ask about education, didn't need to, he was on top of his job with no problems at all)

Once you're in and working, nobody much cares about paper qualifications (wish they did, says Lt Jrwlynch RNR, BEng(Hons) MSc MA - will all that academic paper get me promoted faster? It doesn't even get me any free socks!) - whether you're good at your job and a useful member of the team matters much more.

Keep asking, learning and looking around, but from what you've said here it sounds like CIS(SM) is what you want to do, and a submarine is not a place you want to be stuck for months doing a job you don't enjoy.

As Ninja_Stoker points out, it's not a "decide now and forever" issue - the opportunity's there to go officer later should you and the Navy agree it would suit you and there's a role that appeals. (I think 25-30% of the RN's officers started out as ratings - anyone got the number?)
 
#9
Of course the degree could be in Origami o_O
It's actually in Biochemistry, not that it will matter at all after I graduate. I almost wish I hadn't signed up for the extra 4th year (thinking I'd remain deeply in love with the subject and the idea of a career in academia) now but there's no backing out at this point.
 
#10
//Thread drift//

I hated the idea of academia (OK, classrooms) so much, that, despite passing the entrance exams and being given an entry date, that I turned down being an Artificer when I found it meant 4ish years in 'school'. Joined as a Dabber, 'cos I liked the pictures they showed me!

23 years later I left as.......... a Chief Artificer (Mech really!)

//As you were//
 
#11
I’m in a similar position to you, im a post grad hoping to join as a rating. Personally the reasons why I want to join the navy are not academic and when you’ve finished your service your degree will still be there. Just don’t let being a graduate become your identity or feel like you have to be pigeon holed into something you don’t want to do just because it’s percieved as better
 
#13
Genuine question - not aimed at the OP, but in general.

Why spend 3 or 4 years doing a degree you hate, are not going to use and incurring possibly £50k of student loan and other accumulated debt, when 3 or 4 years ago you could have joined up and earned nearer £100k by now?

Puzzled.
 
#14
Genuine question - not aimed at the OP, but in general.

Why spend 3 or 4 years doing a degree you hate, are not going to use and incurring possibly £50k of student loan and other accumulated debt, when 3 or 4 years ago you could have joined up and earned nearer £100k by now?

Puzzled.
In my case:

1) I went to a school that was designed to be a pipeline into "Good Universities" and then "Good Careers", so I was not presented with any options other than going to uni. It also connected my sense of self-worth to my academic achievements to the extent that even considering anything else was unthinkable.

2) I genuinely do enjoy studying my chosen field, and at the time I started the degree was convinced that I'd just hang out at the uni earning ever more degrees until someone handed me a professorship. Or something. My decision not to go into academia was based on the realisation that I did not like the nature of a career in research, not that I did not like biochemistry.
 
#15
@SONAR-BENDER people’s interests change as they get older just like you see people have major career changes. I don’t want to work in the industry I studied currently but have no regrets going to uni.

Student debt only ever seems to get brought up by people who didn’t go to uni. It’s a very manageable debt and people pay more for phone contracts than monthly loan repayments.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
#16
Bottom line is Universities are a business, like any other. The education system generates revenue and this is fed by secondary schools where a university education is pretty much the expected norm rather than a place for those who excel and enjoy academics.

Forty years ago the UK paid 16 year olds not to go to school and sit on their arse doing nothing at home. Twenty years ago the UK paid them thirty quid a week to stay in sixth form. Ten years ago we started charging for a degree education. Nowadays, schools mislead students into believing they must stay in secondary education to age 18 and ideally pay for a degree education until age 21.

As stated above, whilst not knocking those who gain vocational degrees, required to do a job, there's a system that gives a 16 year old the opportunity to gain 5 years work experience, travel and seniority earning around £100-£120,000 and there's a system to remain in education until 21/22 gaining a degree and then starting on the same wage as the 16 year old did five years previously, accompanied with a £50k (average) debt.

My son, incidentally, opted for a degree and in his second year. Did he listen to me? Nah, I'm only a careers adviser ;)
 
#17
@SONAR-BENDER
Student debt only ever seems to get brought up by people who didn’t go to uni. It’s a very manageable debt and people pay more for phone contracts than monthly loan repayments.
Yeah, student loans are really not that big a problem - the repayments are structured so that it acts exactly the same as a tax and I really have no objections to it.

In any case I'm not sure I would have been mature enough for the Navy at age 16 or even 18 - being at uni has taught me a lot about motivating and looking after myself when at school I could just swan about being a ******** and glide to top marks while my mum kept me fed and did my washing. Of course some people don't need to try out adulthood with the training wheels on before they do the real thing!

Uni also lets me spend my time studying a fascinating subject in depth and I am sure I would have regretted not doing it.
 
#18
I want to do the opposite, funnily enough! Join at 18 without a degree. Need to convince the school and my parents that degrees aren't a neccessity...
 
#19
My lad did his A levels, went to Uni to study Music Technology which he really enjoyed in college.
After the first year he realised that 1, they didn't teach him anything he hadn't already learnt in college and 2, they weren't going to teach him anything he wanted to learn.
So he came home and said he wasn't going back after summer.
'Ok' says I, 'What you going to do?'
'Join the Navy' says he!. 18 months later (after doing all sorts of menial and charity jobs he joined up and hasn't looked back. Been in 3 1/2 years now.

I think he starts paying some student loan back soon............
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
#20
I want to do the opposite, funnily enough! Join at 18 without a degree. Need to convince the school and my parents that degrees aren't a neccessity...
Here's something to consider - an accelerated apprentice can join with BTEC or acceptable STEM subject A Levels, aged 18 and earning £31,100 starting pay.

An engineering graduate, aged 21 can join as an engineering officer, earning just under £26,000 starting pay.
 

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