RFA Marine Engineer Question

SeaCoyote

Newbie
Hello all,

I'm currently weighing up applying for a marine engineer role in the RFA, and doing some research.

Currently mid 30s, went through uni years ago, got a BA (lingusitics) and never really used it. I've been self-funding my way through a college course part time to get into a different career and do something useful, and I'm about to get an FdSc in Marine Engineering by the summer. (FdScs are what are replacing HNDs these days, counts as 2/3s of a bachelors)

According to the careers site all I'd need to get on the third officer track is this FdSc qualification, but I'm curious if what might actually happen is I'd automatically get sifted for guys with a full degree, or more industry experience.

I did ask careers over webchat, but the guy there said they couldn't comment on it, and I should apply and talk it over with my nearest AFCO. Would rather not do that right now since if it's going to count against my application, I'd rather work at finishing a full degree if that's what they're going to want. (No idea how they look at people that end up reapplying)

Does anyone know how these things usually go in the sift?
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
Currently mid 30s, went through uni years ago, got a BA (lingusitics) and never really used it. I've been self-funding my way through a college course part time to get into a different career and do something useful, and I'm about to get an FdSc in Marine Engineering by the summer. (FdScs are what are replacing HNDs these days, counts as 2/3s of a bachelors)

According to the careers site all I'd need to get on the third officer track is this FdSc qualification, but I'm curious if what might actually happen is I'd automatically get sifted for guys with a full degree, or more industry experience.

I did ask careers over webchat, but the guy there said they couldn't comment on it, and I should apply and talk it over with my nearest AFCO. Would rather not do that right now since if it's going to count against my application, I'd rather work at finishing a full degree if that's what they're going to want. (No idea how they look at people that end up reapplying)

Does anyone know how these things usually go in the sift?

To qualify as a substantive Third Officer Marine Engineer you would need to obtain an Engineer Officer Of the Watch (Unlimited) certificate of competency. Basically cadetships are the foundation degree you have almost completed plus appropriate experience and a couple of specialist courses, at the end of one you then have to sit (and pass) an oral board with a MCA examiner to gain this certificate of competency.

The RFA in the past has hired people with the appropriate academics as uncertified Third Officers, and then put them through the rest of their training on a fast track to gaining certification. This is quite rare and whether they would be willing to do that for you is probably going to take a few direct conversations with them. Otherwise its a paid cadetship and 3-4 years repeating a lot of the stuff you have already studied.

If you would consider the electrical side of engineering at sea, your foundation degree may be enough alone to qualify you for Third Officer, Systems Engineer as the Electrical Technical Officer certificate of competency is not yet mandatory for us.

As to sifts favouring full degrees over foundation/hnd I have never heard of it. There is a tick box for recruitment saying whether you are qualified or not; as long as you tick that box it doesn't matter if you meet the minimum or exceed it by a country mile.
 

instinct

Lantern Swinger
Hello all,

I'm currently weighing up applying for a marine engineer role in the RFA, and doing some research.

Currently mid 30s, went through uni years ago, got a BA (lingusitics) and never really used it. I've been self-funding my way through a college course part time to get into a different career and do something useful, and I'm about to get an FdSc in Marine Engineering by the summer. (FdScs are what are replacing HNDs these days, counts as 2/3s of a bachelors)

According to the careers site all I'd need to get on the third officer track is this FdSc qualification, but I'm curious if what might actually happen is I'd automatically get sifted for guys with a full degree, or more industry experience.

I did ask careers over webchat, but the guy there said they couldn't comment on it, and I should apply and talk it over with my nearest AFCO. Would rather not do that right now since if it's going to count against my application, I'd rather work at finishing a full degree if that's what they're going to want. (No idea how they look at people that end up reapplying)

Does anyone know how these things usually go in the sift?
When you start talking to the recruiting cell for the RFA you can talk about going on a fast track course, this involves applying to a marine college and they then talk with IAMI and decide what your qualification lets you skip. But you will probably have to do 8 to 9 months sea time, workshop time and maybe a couple of exams before sitting your final Orals board with an MCA examiner. As for the people you are applying with, these are people either like you going for a second career (and not many with engineering degrees) or late teens to early twenties looking for a first career. At the end of a regular Cadetship you are end up with either a HND or Foundation degree so its the exact level you are aiming for.

The RFA in the past has hired people with the appropriate academics as uncertified Third Officers, and then put them through the rest of their training on a fast track to gaining certification. This is quite rare and whether they would be willing to do that for you is probably going to take a few direct conversations with them. Otherwise its a paid cadetship and 3-4 years repeating a lot of the stuff you have already studied.
Ha so I was told in 2012 but by the time I applied it was a case of going through as a Cadet on Cadet wages.

@instinct might be a good man to ask being an engineering offer with the company.

Cheers for dropping me in it Big D ;)
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
Ha so I was told in 2012 but by the time I applied it was a case of going through as a Cadet on Cadet wages.

I have met only 1 guy in my time who has achieved it as a Marine Engineer. However on the deck officer side of things we currently have 2x guys who came in as 4th Officers whilst doing the fast track route you mentioned (they both have just picked up their CoCs and so will be due a promotion soon).
 

instinct

Lantern Swinger
I have met only 1 guy in my time who has achieved it as a Marine Engineer. However on the deck officer side of things we currently have 2x guys who came in as 4th Officers whilst doing the fast track route you mentioned (they both have just picked up their CoCs and so will be due a promotion soon).

Yeah it is strange system. And annoying that the deck department managed it! What were their backgrounds? Ex RN?

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SeaCoyote

Newbie
Thanks for the info guys, very good stuff to know. I would be happy with training a while longer on the cadet wage if they'll have me since once I factor in the value of the training I'd get, it's still a pretty good investment I'd say.

I did not know the cadetship was essentially the HND with a few bits tacked on. That is very interesting, because the course I'm finishing up now is designed by Babcock in Plymouth to prep their technicians to work on subs and warships.

Guess I might as well get on and apply and see what happens. Cheers!
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
Guess I might as well get on and apply and see what happens. Cheers!

Plymouth uni, has quite a close relationship with the mod & merchant seafaring communities. You might want to ask around the professors for a bit of advice on the quickest way to a CoC

Also it would be wise to talk first to the MCA & Nautical Colleges (for the RFA, South Tyneside, Warsash & Fleetwood) about a fast track training route as there is no point in repeating training which you already qualified for. Once identified you will be able to discuss with the RFA.

Only as a last resort go to the careers office and apply (they will be only able to offer what is on their tick sheet) for a cadetship. The rare exceptions to the recruitment process happen only because people ask (strongly). Certainly if you don't ask you won't get!

Whilst training wages are fine, full wages are better!
 

SeaCoyote

Newbie
Thanks for the heads up Random, I do have an ex RN tutor that probably knows about the CoC actually. Will throw him an email and see what he thinks. I was going to badger him for a reference anyway this should ease him into it :D

I did check out the Systems route as well, and it looks like their academic requirements are pure electrical/electronic which I don't have. We do a bit of the sparky stuff but I don't think it'd cover what they're looking for. I'll still bring it up when I get to talk to someone from RFA recruitment rather than the AFCO and see what they reckon. If they need more people on systems then it might be the best plan for both parties.

Just looked up the cadet progression for EOOW at Warash too, looks like they consider the HND/FdSc part of this a separate block in and of itself which can only be good news for me. If there's a few practical bits they want me to go over again I doubt it'd take another three years even if their course is a little different.

Thanks again guys, this has made the inner workings a lot more clear and I know which tree to bark up now :)
 

Megalopteron

Lantern Swinger
Yeah it is strange system. And annoying that the deck department managed it! What were their backgrounds? Ex RN?

ex-RN. MCA required them to complete academics (might have been HND) and only three months sea time. Paid as cadets but given 4/O stripes. Would have been 3/O(X)(U) in the old days, though AFAIK there were no (X)(U)s, only (E)(U)s.
 

instinct

Lantern Swinger
Makes sense. To be honest for someone with a degree i had so much extra to learn practical wise, i didnt deserve anything but a cadet salery anyway so i try not to complain any longer.

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