I think you're issues are more about getting in and getting through basic. When you join the RNR you don't join a specific branch, you join the RNR then at the end of basic training you apply for branches, which may or may not accept you based on their requirements and potentially your skillset. During your basic training you'll get an appreciation of what each branch does, and that will let you make a more informed decision.
That said, it is worth understanding the basic constraints around the branches and specialisations. There is little point in joining as an officer if one of the branches that you're interested in doesn't want, or need, any more officers.
It's also worth highlighting that Officers and Ratings do different jobs, and if you're after sea time then Seaman rating is probably the way to go.
Back in 1984 when I joined, HMS Forward was still a CTC - having an engineering and electronics background (and being extremely naiive) I really wanted to be a sparker (see, I told you I was naiive) however, the powers-that-be decreed that my new-entry class were all to be Tactical ratings - after a very short space of time, and having grown up and matured at sea, I was thankful for not having had a choice in my branch selection!
In more recent times, the practice in some units is that every branch has the opportunity to present a sales-pitch to the NE classes to allow them to indicate their preferences - these preferences are then taken into account alongside the requirements of the branches when the allocations are made.
I keep hearing persistent rumours that all NE will go Sea(res) on completion of Raleigh, and after a suitable holiday somewhere holding a rifle and dressed like a soldier, they will get the chance to do something else.
Disclaimer: All I hear are persistent rumours. Anyone with a gen dit is welcome to correct me.
As these rumours have (or could have) an impact on the branch that I'm OiC of, I will chase them down and try to give an official answer. Please bear with me, as rumours can have a negative effect.
I've picked up the ball, and will attempt to run with it.
The most active branch is definitely Seaman Specialist or AWFP or whatever it will be called next month, I was told a while ago that this was because of the amount of RM tied up in Afghan meant there was a general shortage of FP personnel, I don't know how true that is but I do know the RNR is crying out for more AWFP folk.
I've been sitting in with a reserves unit for nearly a year in an attempt to get as much training as possible before I join up full time. Much of that time I've been sat in with a new entries class and they were told that unless they could 'significantly contribute' to another branch (if they already had diving qualifications for example) then they would all be going AWFP. I don't know if this would be considered 'forcing' or 'ushering' into a branch as nobody had any objections to it, they all wanted to get deployed so they all went with it.
As has been said before though the primary aim the RNR has for its new entries is to get them through Raleigh. Branch specialisations are sorted afterwards and if someone was determined enough I'm sure they could get themselves a transfer into MTO or logs, however diving and Intel are different animals.
If people are only given Seaman(Res) as an option it would not suprise me, that is where the manpower shortage is so it makes sense to pour as many people as possible into that rather than having a reserve unit full of MTO and loggies doing nothing.
Anyhoo, best bet as always is to get down to your AFCO, or find your local unit here, give them a ring and speak to the unit's recruitment officer
I have checked with the centre, there are currently NO PLANS to push all NEs (or future NEs) into the Sea(Res) Branch. However, there is staff work in progress to ensure all of our people are better prepared/trained in weapon handling, irespective of branch.
That is it, chapter and verse. If anyone wishes to discuss this further please PM me or email me on a more secure net. I woud like to keep further discussion on this topic out of the public forum.
However, what I have stated above, I hope, will quash any rumours.
Thank you for your understanding
I think that the MTO is probably one of the most active branches, but most of the 'deployments' are usually down in the hole that is JSU Northwood, or most certainly UK-based. Although there is usually a chance to go to Dubai every so often.
I think there's a certain amount of scaremongering going on here. I'm SEARES and would recommend it heartily to anyone who wants an active military role within the RNR, however i fully appreciate that not everyone wants to carry a gun for a living, indeed some are deeply uncomfortable at the idea.
As a heads-up the way things are going seems to be that everyone will now get basic weapons training as part of their Raleigh course, indeed i believe this may have already begun as a basic introduction to a more military way of doing things. My understanding isn't that things are rigid after basic training in terms of branch choice, although as others have said requirements at the time immediately after you pass out will dictate your choices. In this respect nothing has changed for years and is entirely the same as the RN. It stands to reason that you will only have choices that currently have vacancies. (You can't go to a civvy employer and tell them you want to be the managing director and expect to be in that job the next week - not the ideal analogy i know, but it serves it's purpose!).
As a SEARES rating with many years experience i can see that with current deployments it is an absolute must that people be able to competently carry a weapon (we are after all a military organisation). The prime example of this would be logs branch folk who are often deployed on the ground in various hot, sandy places, who while not 'blanket stacking' (joke) may be required to do sentry duty, convoy security etc......
Not sure, but this may not be as true of say comms branch etc. but who knows what the future will bring. We all need to be flexible to a degree and whilst it may not be something we do on a daily basis, we may all from time to time be required to carry a weapon in the course of duty.
As i said before, bear in mind first and foremost that you are joining a military organisation and be mindful of the fact that with that comes responsibility of various kinds.
P.S. I'm not directing this particularly at the originator of this post, but as a general note to anyone thinking of joining.
Good luck and have a great career. It's what you make of it!