Joining the RFA?

Random

Lantern Swinger
3 messes on most though they have different names.
What to call spaces on a ship and the roles/ranks is surprisingly (to outsiders) important to most RFA and can be a bit of a minefield.

As a general rule if the Merchant Navy uses one term & the RN another, you are less likely to cause a sarcastic response with the merchant.

The reality is that the RFA is it's own beast and so after over a hundred years we have our own jargon, which you will pick up as you go on.
 
Cheers all, just trying to learn as much as I can before the interview. Cocked the last one one up so can't aford any slip ups this time.

Not likely to be asked but out of interest, RFAs have DIY laundromats? Coming from an RN background I was spoilt by the Chinese laundries on board.

LG.
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
Not likely to be asked but out of interest, RFAs have DIY laundromats? Coming from an RN background I was spoilt by the Chinese laundries on board.
Yes there are self help washing machines and driers on the ships. But like the RN we also have a ship's laundry which will wash issued linen, uniform and ppe at the crown expense.
 
OK, good to know.

With regards engineering apps, the info I've received shows 33 weeks at Sultan. Don't engineer apps spend any time at all at Raleigh?

Cheers, LG.
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
Don't engineer apps spend any time at all at Raleigh?.
Try turning your question around, as an apprentice engineer, what courses would Raleigh teach that you would need?

Basically, you are a civilian seafarer so they consider a militarisation phase is not needed.

Training for apprentices happens at the appropriate trade school and on our ships.
 
Yes, makes sense. Guess I'm still thinking in terms of "basic training".

I'm beginning to find the differences in terminology between the RN & RFA interesting. For example, I had been thinking of the periods on the ships as "drafts", while my paperwork refers to them as "appointments". Is that what they are called?

Toilets are still "heads" though, right? (When I joined the RN I left behind my best mate from school days. When I came home on leave we'd meet up and I'd regale him with stories about all things naval. To this day, despite never having served, he still refers to toilets as "the heads"!)

Is food simply "food", or "scran"? And please tell me, if I was to be successful, that I could still look forward to the occasional "make and mend".

LG.
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
Yes, makes sense. Guess I'm still thinking in terms of "basic training".

I'm beginning to find the differences in terminology between the RN & RFA interesting. For example, I had been thinking of the periods on the ships as "drafts", while my paperwork refers to them as "appointments". Is that what they are called?

Toilets are still "heads" though, right? (When I joined the RN I left behind my best mate from school days. When I came home on leave we'd meet up and I'd regale him with stories about all things naval. To this day, despite never having served, he still refers to toilets as "the heads"!)

Is food simply "food", or "scran"? And please tell me, if I was to be successful, that I could still look forward to the occasional "make and mend".

LG.
Whilst most people in the RFA understand jackspeak (well as much as anyone does), because we work so close to the RN there is a push back at using their jargon (we have our own identity). Whilst as seafarers there are set names for each part of the ship (from Heads to Hawsers, Bulkheads, Deckheads, Ladders & Clearways) the words used as nicknames and in banter / general chit chat depend on where you work RN (white ensign), RFA (blue ensign), Merchant (red ensign).

As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, if you have a choice between calling something or someone using the merchant navy tradition you are more likely to get a positive response than using the RN; that said you still will be understood. The RFA uses a mix of both groups jargon and some of our own, which pretty much reflects the mix in the way the organisation works, neither fish nor fowl, but something in between.
 
RE ther interview. Last year, the questions to which my answers weren't as accurate and precise as they might have been were one on life boats, (open and fully enclosed? I don't think any RFAs are equiped with free falls are they?) the hierachy of the RFA, (as I've tried to establish on here,) and my reason for choosing the particular branch.

The 2 questions that I really struggle with though, to be honest, are the "give examples of working alone/in a group under pressure" type questions.

Despite working largely on my own for years it was very rarely under any great pressure and the same could be said for the odd times I found myself as part of a group.

How do people on here think it would go down if, for the "on your own" bit, instead of talking about a "work work" situation, I briefly talked about a 2000 mile solo bicycle ride, from the Black sea coast of Ukraine to the North sea coast of Holland, via the Baltic coast of Poland, with only 3 weeks planning?

Would that demonstrate a sufficient degree of self reliance and planning ability, cycling across countries where I couldn't read signs or menus, (even more important as a veggy)? Coping with wrong turns and getting lost. Forcing myself to continue riding when the weather turned bad and all I really wanted to do was abandon and get on a train.

It wasn't paid work but there was plenty of hard work involved over the 5 weeks. Do people think that it would fulfil the "on your own under pressure" criteria?

Cheers, LG.
 
With those questions, the key is not so much the content of the answer, but the structure.

Try to set the scene by explaining what you were told to do / what you wanted to do.

Then explain what you did and how it was related to your goal.

Then explain what the overall outcome was and how it met your goal. If you didn’t meet your goal, explain what you learned.

I know that’s not a direct answer to your question, but that’s because there is no correct *answer* to that type of question: instead, it’s about structure.

But I would say cycling around Ukraine offers plenty of content for your structure.

Good luck.
 
Hi Jamie and thanks for that useful and informative break down of how to approach the question. As for the group part, without having to go all the way back to my navy days there is one job on the railways that I got dropped into which, using your approach, could fit the bill.

It wasn't especially stressful or difficult nor was I officially in charge of the small group involved. However, as the most senior and experienced guy there I did feel some responsibilty to make sure that the others knew what they were doing and that everything went off OK.

I'm sure that I can work that example into a suitable answer.

Cheers, LG.
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
civil service (and so the RFA) reporting/interview system looks for answers in what they call the STAR format (Situation, Task, Action, Result). The ST should be about 10% if what you say/write and is to set the scene, 80% on your actions and 10% on the result/outcome. When thinking of the outcomes dont just think of how it impacted you & the task, but also think how it impacted the wider world/other people.
 
OK, that's interesting. It would tend to rule out my cycling example as that had no impact on anything/anyone other than myself.

It is though, a very good indicator of how the example should be tailored and explained. Thanks very much.

LG.
 
Good morning,

I have recently submitted my application to become a Cadet Deck Officer in the RFA and after the going through this thread I have a few worries. I'd be grateful if someone could help me out.

I'm in my early 20s and not long out of university. I have held a job for a year now but I certainly do not consider my experience of life to be substantial. I also have no experience at sea, bar being a passenger on the odd ferry trip. I realise that competition will be very fierce as places are limited and I maybe up against ex-servicemen. I'm therefore worried that my youth and inexperience greatly weakens me. Is this something I should really be worried about - and if so what can I say in the interviews (if I reach that stage) to address this?
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
I'm in my early 20s and not long out of university. I have held a job for a year now but I certainly do not consider my experience of life to be substantial. I also have no experience at sea, bar being a passenger on the odd ferry trip. I realise that competition will be very fierce as places are limited and I maybe up against ex-servicemen. I'm therefore worried that my youth and inexperience greatly weakens me. Is this something I should really be worried about - and if so what can I say in the interviews (if I reach that stage) to address this?
The cadetship is designed to take someone with no experience of the maritime industry and make them a competent (if inexperienced) officer of the watch.

The youngest cadet I have met in recent years was 17 when he started and the oldest I bumped into was 46 (i am sure there are older and younger), most are in their late teens early 20s (depending whether they went to uni or not).

Like all trainee posts they are looking for someone who can learn and show potential to do the job well. In some ways experience with the RN can be a hindrance as they would have to unlearn the military way of doing things and learn the civilian.

Saying dont worry never works, so what I would say is dont worry about the other applicants, worry about yourself and the preparations you can do to make yourself look like the best person for the position.
 
The cadetship is designed to take someone with no experience of the maritime industry and make them a competent (if inexperienced) officer of the watch.

The youngest cadet I have met in recent years was 17 when he started and the oldest I bumped into was 46 (i am sure there are older and younger), most are in their late teens early 20s (depending whether they went to uni or not).

Like all trainee posts they are looking for someone who can learn and show potential to do the job well. In some ways experience with the RN can be a hindrance as they would have to unlearn the military way of doing things and learn the civilian.

Saying dont worry never works, so what I would say is dont worry about the other applicants, worry about yourself and the preparations you can do to make yourself look like the best person for the position.
Thank you. This is a really helpful response and reassures me. I’ll do my best ensure I’m properly prepared!

I do have one other quick query as I’ve noticed that there has been mention of people sending cover letters in addition to the initial application form. Do you think this is a good idea and will it be accepted? I worry that I might not be able to articulate myself as well as I could in an interview so I’m considering it.
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
I do have one other quick query as I’ve noticed that there has been mention of people sending cover letters in addition to the initial application form. Do you think this is a good idea and will it be accepted? I worry that I might not be able to articulate myself as well as I could in an interview so I’m considering it.
No idea about it being accepted as I haven't worked in recruitment ... I suspect the people who have done it think that more information given is better than less, the only people who could answer are the RFA Recruitment team.
 
When I sent my CV in a few months back the lateral entry team request a covering letter as well in their reply. So I highly doubt that it will be frowned upon if you do add one.
 

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