Info on Deck Officer Cadet responsibilities

gooner

Newbie
Hi everyone,

I've got my sift interview coming up in a few weeks time and I'm confident on the history, current operations and current fleet of the RFA. I've done some looking through previous threads on this forum but haven't been able to find what I'm looking for which may seem stupid but its the actual role of a Cadet Deck officer.

I've looked at the job profile on the RN website and it gives a brief overview of the role but not a really good one. I'm just looking to find out what kind of duties the job entails on a daily basis. I Any links to resources would also be greatly appreciated. (Not just about the job but anything else RFA related)

I know this is what annoys people on this forum, people like me asking questions that are asked every day but from what I've been able to see, what I have asked above has not been answered or if it has, it was years ago.

My understanding of the role is as follows:

  • Work alongside RN to deliver vital operational support to enable them to undertake their own missions
  • Assist and lead in the Replenishment at Sea process

That's all I have for now, there's more on the website itself but its all very general and doesn't actually specify what I would be doing everyday.

Thanks in advance!
 
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.Torch.

Midshipman
I would say the two bits of information you have stated above apply more to the RFA as a whole than the specific Deck Officer role.

When you complete your training and initially qualify as an OOW your primary role will be as a watchkeeper. This will be one of three sets of watches: 8-12, 12-4 and 4-8.
During this time you will be responsible (as a representative of the Master) for the navigational and operational safety of the vessel. This includes (but I stress is not limited too) taking part in drills, Replenishment at Sea, responding to emergencies (on the ship and in the vicinity of) and of course 'driving' the ship.

Secondary roles vary. You could be in charge of Life Saving Equipment, Radars or Ammunition to name a few.

Progression from 3/O to 2/O opens up opportunities to undertake different roles such as being the vessels Navigator or Point Defence Officer.

This is just a brief overview. If you are struggling to find information in this forum, OfficerCadet is also a useful source of information.
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
I've done some looking through previous threads on this forum but haven't been able to find what I'm looking for which may seem stupid but its the actual role of a Cadet Deck officer.

The role of a Cadet Officer is to pass your Cadetship and become a qualified Officer.

And as long as you dont mess up too badly or piss off too many people (a certain about of messing up and pissing people off is par the course) you will be offered a full service contract as 3/O on passing your MCA Orals.

Plenty of information out there (on this forum and others) on what a Cadetship consists of and the role and responsibilities of a 3/O(X).

If, after copious use of the search function above and google, you have any specific questions left, please drop them on this thread and we (as a group) will try and answer them!
 

gooner

Newbie
This is exactly what I’ve been looking, now you’ve said that it seems like a much more diverse and interesting role than what it seemed before.

Thanks a lot for that, I appreciate it. Had a browse on OfficerCadet but it seems they have no search function (on phone, not sure about desktop) so finding RFA related threads is quite difficult but I suppose some of the things mentioned tie in.
 

ddraver

Newbie
Hi all. May I ask when you applied and had a response back? I was told to expect a Selection Board in May..?

Wondering if I need to start Plan B:(

Thanks
 

Jago

Midshipman
Hi mate, I can't speak for applying now however, just as a heads up, I applied back in April '15 and I started at Dartmouth in June '16. Almost all of the ex RFA cadets that I know had a similar experience WRT their joining process; i.e.: even before the current climate, the process is a bit of a slog. I got a part time job whilst I waited. Also, it may be worth considering joining with another company and transferring across once you've qualified- I know it doesn't sound like your best option right now but the RFA will always be hiring qualified deckies and it would give you an experience of the outside MN world (where the grass may seem greener...). Hope this helps.
 

gooner

Newbie
Hi all. May I ask when you applied and had a response back? I was told to expect a Selection Board in May..?

Wondering if I need to start Plan B:(

Thanks
Hi, I applied in February, have also been told to expect Selection Board in May as well. Not much info being given but after some reading it seems this is normal.

Best of luck!
 

.Torch.

Midshipman
Thanks all, I'm guessing we're waiting as there is no June intake.

Fingers crossed for us all!
There is a June intake, but if you are expecting to undertake AIB in May you will likely be looking at the end of the year (October/November time) for a start date at BRNC.
 

.Torch.

Midshipman
Hi mate, I can't speak for applying now however, just as a heads up, I applied back in April '15 and I started at Dartmouth in June '16. Almost all of the ex RFA cadets that I know had a similar experience WRT their joining process; i.e.: even before the current climate, the process is a bit of a slog. I got a part time job whilst I waited. Also, it may be worth considering joining with another company and transferring across once you've qualified- I know it doesn't sound like your best option right now but the RFA will always be hiring qualified deckies and it would give you an experience of the outside MN world (where the grass may seem greener...). Hope this helps.
I would not say we are always hiring qualified Deck Officers, the recruiting for Deck Officers has only just opened up in the last few months. Before then it was shut for quite some time.
If you know that you definitely want to be in the RFA I would suggest waiting as we are always taking on cadets and it might not be easy to come across once qualified. Especially with the lull in the industry at the moment, there's a lot of competition for qualified places.
 

Jago

Midshipman
I would not say we are always hiring qualified Deck Officers, the recruiting for Deck Officers has only just opened up in the last few months. Before then it was shut for quite some time.
If you know that you definitely want to be in the RFA I would suggest waiting as we are always taking on cadets and it might not be easy to come across once qualified. Especially with the lull in the industry at the moment, there's a lot of competition for qualified places.
I appreciate what you're saying, however, bearing in mind that the period where the RFA wasn't taking on qualified Deck officers was just under three years- and it takes roughly three years to complete a cadetship- if you applied to a commercial company now, were taken on as a cadet and earned your qualifications, you would likely be able to join the RFA again as a 3/O at least a year before RFA cadets (especially seeing as, due to the fluctuations of industry, the post-Covid cruise sector will be in a much healthier place and therefore there are bound to be deckies leaving the RFA for greener pastures).

All I'm saying is that it may not be worth the (at least one year) wait on balance.

Or you could weigh up your options and join the dark side as an ETO with considerably better employment opportunities, lower wait times, a transferable skillset and day working routines...
 

ddraver

Newbie
Basic Question but if we're waiting for selection board, does that mean we've 'passed' the SIFT interview? It's difficult to tell when none of these things are actually happening/happening virtually...
 
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