MACH5

Newbie
Hello all

You've probably heard people talk about this before and are likely sick to death of it, but I thought I'd ask.

I've wanted to join the military (RAF or RN) for some time now, having long been interested in being a Pilot.

I spent a year in the URNU, and recently left them (amicably) for the UAS for various reasons.

While in the URNU, I applied for AOP and got to the AIB stage, and undertook it virtually. I passed, but with a score that was severely lacking.

My CO and training officers have told me that this goal is unrealistic, and since the encouraged me to look at other career paths, including rating roles.

I haven't entirely given up on this goal, but have looked around to see what is available. I prepared myself well for the RT and scored well enough for CT, which is a role that I am seriously considering.

Naturally, I have always been pushed towards officer, being at university and in the URNU/UAS. I don't think I'm someone that is particularly hard to get along with, but I very much dislike the idea of feeling out of place and wonder if it'd feel this way at Raleigh. I also don't want to hold onto a sort of failed officer/wannabe officer mentality.

I'd appreciate any insight of this.
 

PioXVI

Newbie
I find myself in quite a similar position, in that I originally thought about applying as a Warfare Officer but when I found out the wait time I had another look at various roles in the RN and actually the CT role became my preferred option and applied. My thinking was that from all the info I had gleamed off here it provided interesting deployments and opened some doors post-service if and when I chose to leave.

I take your point about a 'wannabe' officer mentality, although my thinking was that in the years a head having a genuine expertise in quite a technical and secretive trade wouldn't be a bad thing, and in some ways complemented my degree. I sort of had my heart set on going to Raleigh sooner rather than later, after 4 years of sitting in libraries etc I was eager to get started but admin delays with Capita has meant it's next year at the earliest before I'll go, so I've started thinking about my options again, even looking at the other services.

I suppose only you can really answer whether you want to go in as a rating. I'm in my URNU as well and when I mentioned I was looking into a rating role they were quite surprised. You need to ask yourself what is it you're looking for in the RN, is it a lifelong career? Is it to travel, learn a trade and then go work elsewhere? I think once you establish what it is you're looking for then it helps. There are some useful threads on here which I read when I was weighing up my decision but there is ultimately only so much you can get off a forum. I think Covid had made it harder for applicants because ordinarily we could have dropped into careers offices with questions etc, but it's more phone call based now.

What was it about the CT role that interested you?
 

RabC

MIA
Hello all

You've probably heard people talk about this before and are likely sick to death of it, but I thought I'd ask.

I've wanted to join the military (RAF or RN) for some time now, having long been interested in being a Pilot.

I spent a year in the URNU, and recently left them (amicably) for the UAS for various reasons.

While in the URNU, I applied for AOP and got to the AIB stage, and undertook it virtually. I passed, but with a score that was severely lacking.

My CO and training officers have told me that this goal is unrealistic, and since the encouraged me to look at other career paths, including rating roles.

I haven't entirely given up on this goal, but have looked around to see what is available. I prepared myself well for the RT and scored well enough for CT, which is a role that I am seriously considering.

Naturally, I have always been pushed towards officer, being at university and in the URNU/UAS. I don't think I'm someone that is particularly hard to get along with, but I very much dislike the idea of feeling out of place and wonder if it'd feel this way at Raleigh. I also don't want to hold onto a sort of failed officer/wannabe officer mentality.

I'd appreciate any insight of this.
Firstly you have to decide if you wish to join the military or the RAF?
 

pompeyexpat

War Hero
I have no idea what the number of ratings joining with a degree might be, though I know quite a lot of RM ORs join with degrees.

Ultimately it's a decision only you can make, but for what it's worth there's a couple of questions I think you should ask yourself;

One is what you want to do for a career, not what you think you should do. Do not underestimate the importance of a satisfying career, which I personally think should be more important than money or position in deciding what to do (within reason - I might well enjoy flipping burgers in a fast food joint for minimum wage, but that isn't going to keep me or my family in the style we wish to be kept in). But if you hate what you're doing it will impact negatively on every other aspect of your life. I've known a number of people join as an officer because they think that's what's expected of them - or worse because they think that to join as a rating would be below them - and either hate it or not be suited to it (or both).

I hope I can speak with some authority, having been a rating for 20 years before commissioning, when I say that the two roles are very different. It's a generalisation of course, and there will be plenty of examples of where it's not true, but generally ratings are more 'hands-on' - actually doing the job - while the officer is managing those doing it. (Pilot, that you said you were interested in, is one exception I'd say).

The second question is where you want to be in the future (if you can say). Personally, as an 18 yr old joining Raleigh I had no ambition beyond passing out, and even later I never looked beyond CPO. It was only as a Chief that I realised I was bored of what I was doing and still looking for a new challenge - hence getting my papers raised and trying for selection for commission. I'm very glad I did, but commissioning later in life has naturally limited my reach. I'm a Lt Cdr with time, if not the ability, for promotion to Cdr, but higher rank is certainly not going to feature in my future. Now I don't feel any regret about that; I joined at 18 with a handful of GCSEs, and even if I'd had the right exam passes for a shot at AIB I doubt I'd have got through day 1 before it was politely pointed out that I was wasting my time. I enjoyed my time as a rating though and whatever skills or attributes that I now have that made me suitable for an officers role have been developed while in the Navy.

If however I'd had the potential at 18 but decided to join as a rating first, with the intention of trying for commission later, then maybe I would be regretting that now. Generally my advice would always be aim as high as you can. Which for me at 18 wasn't that high. You may not have got a great score, but you passed and so you have potential; why not ask to take the AIB again and see if you can get a better score?

If being an officer is what you want, then try to do that until you fail. If actually, on reflection, you think you might have been looking at the officer route because it's what you think you should do after earning a degree and being in the URNU, but you think you'd derive more satisfaction from the CT role, then do that.

Of course that's simply my opinion. You;'re the only one who can answer the question in the end.
 

Waspie

War Hero
I hope I can speak with some authority, having been a rating for 20 years before commissioning, when I say that the two roles are very different. It's a generalisation of course, and there will be plenty of examples of where it's not true, but generally ratings are more 'hands-on' - actually doing the job - while the officer is managing those doing it. (Pilot, that you said you were interested in, is one exception I'd say).
I can think of a few pilots that would argue that point. The divisional work alone takes up a high % of their already busy schedule. A Merlin pilot I know has put his notice in stating it's the admin/management side that has the biggest draw on his time. Which in turn having an effect on his secondary pilot duties. (Warfare officer/EW officer etc) Add to that lot general ships duties or Flight Commander!!

However, I agree that job satisfaction haas to be high on the list. Don't simply do a job, (Officer), because; 1 it's expected or 2, it's cool to give orders!!

I enjoyed being a aircraft mechanic. It was ok and I enjoyed it but always felt I was missing something. I changed to rating aircrew!! What a difference. I was busy busy but what a job. Job satisfaction wise, nothing since has even scratched the surface of keeping me interested/motivated.

As @pompeyexpat says go for a job, officer or rating, that YOU want to do, that interests YOU.

A degree is a qualification the piece of paper won't give you job satisfaction, your decisions will!! (or not). Decisions - Decisions???)
 

Alfacharlie

War Hero
I can think of a few pilots that would argue that point. The divisional work alone takes up a high % of their already busy schedule. A Merlin pilot I know has put his notice in stating it's the admin/management side that has the biggest draw on his time. Which in turn having an effect on his secondary pilot duties. (Warfare officer/EW officer etc) Add to that lot general ships duties or Flight Commander!!

However, I agree that job satisfaction haas to be high on the list. Don't simply do a job, (Officer), because; 1 it's expected or 2, it's cool to give orders!!

I enjoyed being a aircraft mechanic. It was ok and I enjoyed it but always felt I was missing something. I changed to rating aircrew!! What a difference. I was busy busy but what a job. Job satisfaction wise, nothing since has even scratched the surface of keeping me interested/motivated.

As @pompeyexpat says go for a job, officer or rating, that YOU want to do, that interests YOU.

A degree is a qualification the piece of paper won't give you job satisfaction, your decisions will!! (or not). Decisions - Decisions???)
Fully agree. Spud tanky and DHP were my aim in life.
 

Waspie

War Hero
The ideal sit on the fence job would be 'Bish'. Have a degree in Theology! Have all the perks of an officer, but spend all your working day on the lower deck.

Down side I guess is working every Sunday!!!
 

Wookie42

Midshipman
There was a time up until about 2009 when the very first question that was asked of any potential new recruit to the RN was "what do you want to be?" and part of that was officer or rating entry. But the downside of that was that people psyched themselves up to be one or the other and when it was discovered that they were better suited to the other, it was often too late in the process to get them to change their mind. Consequently the Navy lost a lot of good recruits because their expectations pre AFCO had been skewed by people who assumed that because Daddy was an Admiral then son or daughter would be as well, or conversely because you were brought up in a rough neighbourhood where the expectation was that most people left school to go into manual labour or unemployment, that you were forever destined at best for the lower deck. I do recall having the dubious please at one point during that job of calling a senior member of the Navy Board to confirm that yes, his son had failed AIB (which his ACLO had predicted) and no, we would not be turning a blind eye to it.

I am so glad that my predecessor at Naval Recruiting Headquarters started off the process to change all that and I implemented it. The process then became (and I must confess I don't know whether it has changed again since, I've been out for a few years now) start the process and let's work together through RT and interviews to see what role(s) you're best suited to. I have met lots of graduates who might have proven that they are intelligent enough to get a degree, but I wouldn't trust them to lead their way out of a wet paper bag. And conversely a lot of non-graduates whom I know people would follow anywhere. Throughout my time in the Navy I worked with a great deal of Senior Rates whom I would put in that latter category.

AIB is all about leadership potential. Now some university courses can provide that in spades and the URNU is a good place to start because it exposes you to leadership opportunities. But other courses are much more about individual performance which is why just because you have a degree doesn't necessarily mean that you are a good leader/potential officer. I vaguely recall a study that we did back in the late 2000s that showed the AIB failure rate/low pass rate amongst graduates was, percentage wise actually a fair bit higher, than non-graduates. And in a previous job I did on the aviation staff in Navy Command Headquarters (or Fleet HQ as it was then) showed that the failure rate in Pilot Elementary and Basic Flying Training was much higher for graduates than non-graduates and the assessment was that they had been taught to question more rather than just accept what they were being taught. Interestingly there was almost no difference between grads and non-grads in Observer Basic Flying Training.

Like others have said on here, historically, very few graduates started at RALEIGH. But that has changed, especially since the revised process I mentioned above. And you've already demonstrated with an AIB pass that you do have leadership potential. So if the AFCO/ACLO advice is that on your score you're unlikely to be offered a place, if you want a career in the Navy I would consider a RALEIGH entry. With AIB behind you and URNU experience, I would not be at all surprised to see you being given opportunities in training as a class leader to prove yourself and then with a little more experience that may well be sufficient to get CW papers raised. I think the fastest I saw in my time at CNR was a young man who'd had papers raised before he passed out and AIB complete before he started Phase 2. He was then fast tracked through and started BRNC in a matter of weeks rather than years so it can be done if you show the aptitude.

Hope that helps - and good luck.
 

Waspie

War Hero
Well written @Wookie42.

Some very valid points succinctly made.

Hit my memory muscle. During the Fleet review in 1977 I will never forget a classmate summing up our 'Boss' and that is being polite to his man management skills!!!

"Sir! I wouldn't follow you into the sh1t house - never mind the valley of death"

The officer concerned had the leadership skills of a squashed cockroach, a good engineer but a leader - not in my lifetime.

As @Wookie42 says, some people are born leaders, irrespective of rank or station, others, it doesn't come naturally!
 
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