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Niece applying for Navy Officer - edited for privacy

Hi all,

My niece has applied to join the Navy as an Engineering Officer.

She has passed her physical and is waiting for a date for the next stage (AIB I think)

I have been trying to impress on her how she needs to bone up on Navy/Marine deployments,equipments,capabilities etc.

But she seems to think that the Careers Office is providing her a 'booklet' that will tell her all she needs to know about the Navy.

She has done nothing as far as I can see to show any leadership qualities and when I mentioned that she may wish to go on some kind of Adventure Training or look into how she can improve her chances for selection she said (and here I quote) "I don't need to do any of that as the guy at the Careers Office said they are crying out for Engineering Officers"

I am not one to put a young person off of going for it but I really cannot believe she stands a chance of selection.

Or is the Careers Officer right - they need Eng Officers so she may be able to blag it.

BTW She has a degree in Mechanical Eng.

I have told her to come on here and look through the various threads but I think she really believes what she is being told by the Careers Office.

To be frank I am really surprised she has even been considered.

Anyone got any opinions ?


War Hero
Re: Niece applying for Navy Officer

Hi Lucky Jim!

Welcome to Rum Ration!

Has she had her Sift Interview with the Area Careers Liaison Officer (ACLO) yet?
I will check with her but I don't think so. So far it has all been mediacl stuff.

What is the Sift interview ? I guess that is where they sift out the undesirables :)

Strange thing is they seem to have spent a lot of time with her on the medical thing. There was an issue with her eyesight and they sent her for all sorts of tests for the day.

Surprised they spent that much time on her if they havnt already sifted her.

She has gone on holiday so cant speak to her at moment but she didnt mention any sort of interview.

It's this whole 'Dont worry we are short of Eng Officers so you dont need to be a military expert' thing that has me worried. I hoenstly believe she thinks that is true.


War Hero
The Sift Interview with an ACLO is the gateway to the AIB. Pass it and your papers are forwarded to the AIB at HMS Sultan who then offer you an AIB date.

Preparing for the Sift means genning up on the Royal Navy in all its guises, its ships, aircraft, submarines, personnel, operations, roles eg anti-narcotics, anti-piracy, fisheries, humanitarian etc etc. She will need to know her training pipeline and be able to give examples of when she has demonstrated leadership ability and the capacity to use her initiative.

I have a feeling she may be in for a shock!

Part of what she is saying is true - there is a need for Engineering Officers - but this does not mean in any way that the application process is made any easier for potential EOs.


War Hero
I'd agree that your concerns voiced thus far appear well founded.

There is no book provided by the AFCO that holds all the answers. There are several publications that may help, but the simple fact is that those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

The condensed AIB thread in the Newbies FAQ sticky section will hopefully deliver the wake-up call before it's too late.
Thanks all - I prepped for Aircrew selection many moons ago and I had the good fortune of being a cabbage.

I do recall that a few chaps at Biggin who seemed to think that all they had to do was be a fast runner would get them through. They too got a shock.

I am going to sit her down and explain the facts of life when she gets back from holiday.

I mean I asked her one question - roles of SSN as opposed to SSBN and she looked at me as if I was talking Martian.


Lantern Swinger
I have secured a role as a weapons engineering officer at BRNC. I am most likely older then your niece and have a physics degree instead of an engineering degree.
I can assure you that the SIFT and AIB were not a piece of cake and the standards are not dropped if there is a need for a particular branch. I put in quite a lot of work into learning about the Royal Navy through this website and copious google searches. There was no booklet I was given.

My AIB didn't have any real questions about engineering (except for my career pipeline and hopeful progression), it was all leadership examples/putting it into practise and how I got on with my team to solve problems. All of which echos the above, an officer/leader first, specialisation second.

I wish your niece luck, but I think during her SIFT she is going to get a bit of a surprise.
Get her working at it right now and keep her motivated. Sounds like a lack of motivation and a naive mind. Some positivity from you might also help her out a bit. The linkys provided by the resident guru's will definately help


I hope for the sake of the RN and the country that there aren't too many people that are selected who couldn't give the balls of a brass monkey about the organisation in which they serve.


Book Reviewer
Scouse_Castaway said:
Get her working at it right now and keep her motivated. Sounds like a lack of motivation and a naive mind. Some positivity from you might also help her out a bit. The linkys provided by the resident guru's will definately help

Being harsh here, maybe it would be best to allow her to attend the sift interview with her current mindset and receive the wake-up call that she obviously needs. Once someone outside her immediate family has delivered the news that out in the real world employers are not falling over themselves to offer her a job, then maybe she'll take this on board and change her attitude. If she doesn't, then I'd question whether she's right for the RN, but of course there's always the huge range of highly paid and rewarding engineering opportunities offered in the UK.... or not, as the case may be!

EurIng FlagWagger CEng MIET MSaRS
I will be positive but I have always thought that anyone wishing to be an Officer in the Armed Forces should not need to be motivated.

Thanks everyone for the posts.


War Hero
It's probably worth pointing out that Officer candidates are usually briefed by qualified careers advisers if they make an initial enquiry as an officer,which clarifies the selection process from the outset.

The "front desk" or "reception" at an AFCO is usually manned by "loan ratings" who are due harmony time with their families, occasionally on compassionate grounds or sometimes because they are medically downgraded through operational injury (sadly not uncommon for young Royal Marines).

The young guys and girls manning the AFCO reception only undergo very basic, locally trained, recruiting procedures due to the fact they may only be there for a few short weeks. The reason we employ them in this role is because they have first hand, recent experience of the service, often speak the "local lingo" & are of a similar age group to those wishing to join the service (unlike, in most cases, the full time Careers Advisers & ACLOs).

In the ideal world any query regarding eligibility, such as qualifications, age, residency, nationality, criminality, financial status, Officer queries, etc., should be confirmed with a Careers Adviser however if the AFCO is visibly busy, you can bet the back office is even busier fielding telephone queries simultaneously & bespoke careers advice is not always instantly available on tap.

My guess in this instance is the individual made a "walk-in" enquiry, was given a cursory eligibility check by the front desk staff, given the option to undergo a presentation (where everything is fully explained) but opted to submit an application to sit the recruiting test. The guys on reception will have correctly identified that Engineering Officer is a shortage trade, however "crying out" for engineers does not accurately describe the need nor the standards required.

At this point the process automatically shifts into gear, invites them to attend a recruiting test, assuming they pass a plethora of paperwork is issued, after which they undergo a routine eye test and a medical examination. After being passed medically fit, they must complete a pre-joining fitness test (2.4Km treadmill run) before being called forward for interview. The reason the selection process is conducted in this order is that statistically it makes financial sense to medically examine & assess the fitness of someone before interview as more people fail these elements than initial interview.

As FlagWagger correctly states above, it's probably best to let her find out herself at Sift interview rather than, with the best intentions, try to deliver the 'wake-up' call as it can often cause rifts if not delivered in a sensitive manner. We find that no matter what families & teachers correctly tell those under their auspices, it's not until they find out for themselves that a radical "re-think" occurs. The difficult bit is not saying "told you" after the event - it's far better to be supportive than critical.

Whilst it's not good to be knocked-back initially at interview for insufficient knowledge/research, it is something that can be retrospectively addressed & made good without necessarily jeopardising the job.
Excellent advice above - many thanks.

I will give her a heads up but will not push to hard as I think she really needs to find out for herself.

If she is still keen, assuming she does not get through, I will offer as much advice and support as is possible.

Just reading what the training involves makes me wish i had gone the Navy route sometimes. Only sometimes though :)


War Hero

It might be worthwhile picking up a copy of Navy News for her in W H Smith's. You could say you just happened to see it and thought it looked interesting etc ...........

If she has got what it takes, she'll browse through it and realise that she needs to work on building up her knowledge of the RN.
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