Have I made the right choice?

Discussion in 'RFA' started by SquidlyDiddly, Apr 22, 2015.

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  1. Hello,
    I've been following this forum for a while now, and posted a couple of questions myself regarding medicals and salary, etc.

    I have always wanted to have a full time job at sea - I am a 2nd year URNU student and I absolutely love it. The training, the discipline, time management and of course the social aspect. Going to sea and putting the theory into practice gives me a real buzz, and I really mean that. I can't imagine doing anything else.

    Today I put my application into the RFA for a Cadetship in Systems Engineering. However, I have started to worry a little bit. During my time in the URNU, I have been trained as an honorary "Officer Cadet," and it is very much geared towards Officer careers. It's Dartmouth this, Dartmouth that...

    What happens if you go for an Officer Cadetship, but fail the AIB? Can you still go for a Rating career? I would be over the moon to get into the RFA in the first place, and to be honest I don't know whether I am good enough to be an Officer.
  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    That is one of the problems with the URNU, it tends to make individuals view a commissioned career through rose-tinted glasses by affording an insight into the finer aspects rather than the practical realities.

    The short answer to the query is yes, a failed RFA Officer application doesn't rule out RFA Rating. Be aware RFA Officer is quite different to RN Officer.

    The URNU, for all its perks does not include a single element of regular service selection unfortunately, so many come out of uni with unrealistic aspirations.

    You are wise to consider all options, good luck.
  3. It's cases like this that make me worry about the AIB.

    Do you mind me asking how you failed... twice?
  4. Thanks Ninja. It's really a shame that URNUs don't offer a more wider view of careers beyond the standard RN Officer route. You are right when you mention the "rose-tinted" aspect. Formal dinners are great, but I can't imagine its all like that in the real world!

    Apart from pay & conditions, what would you say are the biggest differences between an RN and an RFA Officer? Thanks.
  5. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    I have to confess I'm no expert on RFA Officers, but one thing I have noticed in the engineering world, RFA Officers wear overalls for good reason and they are even allowed to get their hands dirty and use things like spanners without hurting themselves.

    The impression I get is RFA Officers tend to be more "hands on" than supervisory. Doubtless those better informed than I will illuminate further.
  6. I'm glad it worked out for you. So many of my family see being a rating as a lesser choice for me yet they don't really have a clue about it. I think the role of officer is so 'glammed' up by media ect that people become disillusioned.
  7. On my short (4 months) stint on Diligence, the RFA Engineers were roughly the equivilent to a section head (i.e CPO) in the RN with the motormen as stokers. There were two "specialist" Chief Motormen, one was a plumber, the other a chippie.

    The RFA officers did all the defect investigation, stripping down gear and repairing it with the MM's as toolbag carriers.

    I assume that's the same throughout the RFA, basically regard a 3rd officer as a PO, a 2nd as CPO and a 1st as a WO2.
  8. hmm my experience is of the opposite. Maybe it was something unique to my unit. But when I was in, most people in my year were dead keen on joining the navy after uni. The exposure of the Navy they got helped them realize that perhaps the Navy wasn't for them and as a result only 1 guy in our year joined as a regular.
  9. On my short 6 months stint on Diligence, I have no idea what anybody did as I was mostly pissed :)
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    No doubt units differ, but if you feel you gained a realistic appraisal then that is a good thing. A degree does not automatically mean someone is destined to become an Officer, of course.

    During my time as Coxswain at Oxford URNU, the students went to sea at weekends and mini deployments at Easter and Summer to Europe, spending each evening alongside. The students enjoyed a regular social calendar in the unit that included Black Tie Dinners and Cocktail Parties.

    Some students went on flying acquaints with CHF & SAR squadrons, some flew in harrier trainers, the majority went to Twickenham & the RN ski championships. Some went skydiving in Florida, a fair few went recreational diving in Cyprus, some undertook indulgence flights to Gibraltar & Washington.

    Of 700 URNU students nationally, they used to average 20-30 joining the RN each year. Currently, I understand this figure has plummeted.

    Maybe things have changed, maybe units differ, but my impression was few students gained a truly representative perspective.
  11. Likewise ... only it was still painted red and called Stena Inspector then!
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    Even the Chartered Engineers ( rare at 2/OE but there is form) and those on or post ICSC(M) or ACSC? I know of a 1/O who has held an RFA sea Command albeit temporary, several 1/Os who have been PWOs in warships and a 1/O who was WEO. Although I take your point about the hands on among the engineers, it's a bit simplistic to regard RFA Officers in terms of rating equivalent with a spanner. Ashore - rare for the RFA- for example a 1/O is an SO2 as is a Lt Cdr and so on.

    Then again there are some accidental officers who are a fcuking disgrace professionally and personally. The RFA has them too but very few sneak under the radar to more gold.
  13. I'm glad to hear that RFA Officers are more hands-on, that's a big bonus for me because I like to get involved in practical jobs as much as possible.
  14. My post was a generalisation to give a rough idea of the roles, it wasn't intended to show a definitive career path.
  15. bloody hell that is quite low, especially if the figure has plummeted. In the army reserve regiment I'm join ingthere's more than definitely more than 20 OTC people joining per year. (yes, I know the OTC's are much larger and more recruitment orientated) but still the difference is quite staggering.

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