RN Careers advice, RN or UNI?

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by domov, Sep 28, 2013.

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  1. Hello all, I am and 18 year old lad from the South East (near Brighton) and would like to hear your input/advice please. I am currently in my 3rd year of Sixth Form and am torn between joining the Royal Navy or going to University. I did fairly well at GCSE but failed the first year of sixth form and got D D D C in the 2nd year's exams. I probably will not be able to get into a good university and to be honest I am sick of learning shit in the education system so I am seriously considering the RN.

    The roles I like the look of so far are the Seaman Specialist and the Warfare Officer.
    Is the Warfare officer attainable for someone like me that will likely get average A levels?
    Shall I not go to uni and go for seaman specialist?

    Thanks guys, I just want to hear from the perspective of people in the business.
  2. It all depends what you ultimately want to do in the future, personally i wouldn't say one route is overwhelmingly better as it depends on the individuals and their aspirations. I went to university and am now applying for a ratings trade, my reasons for doing so were both personal and professional. I have always done well in academia even though i found school quite boring truth be told, but for personal accomplishment and enhanced career options in the future upon completing service in the navy (if i even ever make it in that is) as i have always considered teaching which requires a degree. I had literally the best 3 years of my life, loved every bit and as you can choose your degree it is more likely that you will actually enjoy learning as appose to the wide spectrum of subjects taught at school, many of which are likely to be of little interest. I have not been in the navy yet but from what i understand there are opportunities for further learning (time dependent etc) and if you choose a trade you may wish to pursue 'on the other side' then you will gain transferrable skills anyway. You could always consider perhaps studying an engineering subject at uni and then applying for a bursary etc and join as an officer when you graduate. As a young one you really have so much choice, if you join up you could go to uni after and be young enough to be fully involved etc, similarly if you went to uni if you applied in good time you could join in your early twenties which means all roles are open to you (i think?). Grades wise as far as i know regarding officer entry as long as you have the ucas points and the other skills, qualities and experience that demonstrate officer qualities you will be able to proceed; similarly universities have requirements but if you can write a banging personal statement you will get in somewhere you want to go. Have a think about what you want, both offer amazing opportunities- i would say uni just as i couldnt have wished for a better way to spend 3 carefree years, but no doubt those who have already served would be able to illustrate the amazing time they had when they joined at a similar age to yourself.

    What kind of things do you enjoy doing? Are you hands on or do you prefer thinking laterally? Do you have any idea what your dream career would be or where you would at least like the opportunity to be based?

    I would also like to apologise to Guzzler for my lack of paragraphs.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  3. Well I can't speak as a Warfare Officer as but as somebody who was 18. I only got CCD at 6th form and ended up going to an ok university and got a 2.1 in an academic subject so don't think poor A-Levels will stop you from going.

    Personally I would make sure you leave with 180 UCAS points (make sure you find out which A-Levels aren't accepted). I would then take a year out of education and do something like get a job, join the RNR possibly basically anything but education. After a few months you will be in a better position to make a decision. I don't think it would be a good idea to join as a rating without being 100% sure it's right for you. You can drop out of university at any point, pass out at RALEIGH and you might find it trickier.
  4. Get your 180 ucas points as previously mentioned that will give you a head start. From what my daughter says about seaman spec , dont. Couple of her oppo's went that route and were bored senseless . They both changed to another branch after Collingwood as it was not all its cracked up to be. You dont get to pilot a RIB and play with boats very much. You get to learn about flags, how to handle a paint brush and what bit to tie the ship up to. Probably more to it but they hated it and it didnt test them at all. Not saying its not a a worthwhile job in the RN but from what I understand it isnt all its made out to be. Then again from what I understand , unless your moaning your not a true sailor lol.

    My kid did the same . She did her A levels reluctantly , then waited the long wait to get into basic training. She is now on deployment as a ET/WE on her first ship and listed for officer training when it comes up . She dosnt care when because she wants to experience ship life and learn from the bottom. If you go to uni good for you but if your serious about a career in the RN then dont worry about it too much. The training you get and the qualifications are mind blowing. You can even get that degree while your in service.

    Good luck with whatever you do just be sure whatever it is, make the most of it. You only get one shot. Yes its easy to drop out of Uni, its just as easy to be booted out of RALEIGH as ED says. Dont think RALEIGH is the easy option it isnt.
  5. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    If you are in a position to go to uni then do so my young viking friend, you only really get one shot at your education as a youth so go do it. I know the world is a much more appealing place ( I joined up at 16 ) but, do yourself a favour get the education under your belt, you may still want to join up as a rating with your degree...many do.... but what ever happens in your future no one can take an education away from you. Best of luck young jedi, it's your call, the navy will still be there in 3 years time, choose carefully, be wise.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    As a professional adviser of careers, one thing I note is that people forget we enter into education to get a job. Do you need a degree to undertake any of the jobs listed? No.

    The advice therefore is if you are doing a vocational degree for later use in the jobs market, crack-on if it remains valid & current.

    A good way to weigh things up is to consider you are one of hypothetical triplets, equally qualified initially (5 GCSE's A*-C including maths & English and 260 UCAS points from DDDC at A2), all with the same career interests.

    Triplet 1

    Goes to Uni, having waited a year to start, earns a degree. Gains life experience with regard independent living (if away from home), is three years older & wiser. May have gained some leadership and management experience whilst at uni together with gaining natural mental & physical maturity. Will be no more academically qualified to join the RN but if he has a vocational degree, may use it later to gain employment. On average will rack-up about £40-50K debt. He could still fail selection for Officer or Rating in the RN.

    Triplet 2

    Applies to join the RN now as a Warfare Officer on £24.5K. Takes about 6 months to join. In he succeeds, he'll earn over £95K in the three and a half years Triplet 1 is waiting to start a degree and then is in in University, gain three years life experience with hopefully some overseas travel, earn professional service qualifications, accrue 3.5 years promotional seniority and be earning around £31,596 annual income in three years, based on todays rates, if not already promoted. If he fails selection for Officer, can apply for Rating. Can earn an "in service" degree if he so chooses. If he fails for Rating - maybe considers Uni.

    Triplet 3

    Applies to join the RN now as a Seaman specialist on £14.1K. Takes about 18 months to join. In he succeeds, he'll earn over £34.5K in the two years he'll serve whilst Triplet 1 is waiting to start a degree and then is in in University, he'll gain two years life experience with hopefully some overseas travel, earn professional service qualifications, accrue 2 years promotional seniority and be earning around £18,842 annual income in three years, based on todays rates, if not already promoted to leading hand, earning £26,786. May later be be selected and Commissioned. (about 40% of RN Officers started their career as a Rating) Can earn an "in service" degree if he so chooses. If he fails for Rating - maybe considers Uni.

    In summary, Triplet Two probably has the greater earnings potential & better career path. He also has the best chance of becoming a senior officer.
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  7. I feel modern universities offer more than a certficate to assist in getting a job. Even the lesser regarded institutions can offer experiences and opportunities unparallelled in many ways to anywhere else. If you are careful with money and apply for all relevant bursaries (maybe even get a job shock horror!) you will be straddled with notably less than 40-50k in debt. Not saying it is for everyone, but as OP seems somewhat unsure of what to do next it isn't worth discounting yet. Triplet 2 has the potential to climb higher up the ladder and make more money, but whilst young he has alot of responsibilities, hard work and to an extent lets be honest a loss of some freedoms (not in a bad way just the reality of the forces). Triplet 1 could join the URNU, travel the country with a sports team (netball for me and it wasnt just for the 1st teams)- perhaps even the world through various student programmes; the boxing team had a fully funded trip to America last year and the team was picked on those who worked hardest, including those new to the sport at the start of the year. Having the chance to live with friends for 3 years before getting serious into a career is great, and teaches you so much. Student unions run cheap trips abroad during the holidays and 'adventures' such as climbing kiliminjaro, camp america and so on. Plus you might find your work published which is pretty tough to do outside of an academic institution. Mine is currently being considered for this, it won't make me rich but having the dissertation i spent a loooot of time on potentially in a research journal regarding t'navy is quite exciting. Obviously as everyone else knows better what the navy can offer as i haven't been in yet i am just explaining the potential the other side holds, and the things additional to a degree it can offer. My friend did an internship in Washington DC in the run up to the elections which was amazing and would have been nigh on impossible if not through university, and others studied for a semester at institutions in america which is one in a lifetime chance. Just another example. Just need to have a proper think about what you want in the future but also what you want right now. Learning at university is totally different to 6th form so when pondering don't neccessarily think it will be another 3 years of the same as it won't.

    Forgetting the Navy for a moment as of course i am in no place to comment on recruitment etc, in the civilian world a degree even for the jobs it is not essential will be beneficial. I applied for a job when i graduated that only asked for 3 GCSE's, but they recieved over 150 applications which was whittled to 80 and then 12 for interview. I have work experience too but in the interview they asked about my degree and what qualities i felt having gone to university had given me. I got the job, and out of all of those people it isn't because i am amazing or anything, think my degree helped edge me forward a bit.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  8. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Arguably Triplet 1 could join the URNU, and if he goes to uni in is home town and lives with his parents, he could end-up only £120K worse off than Triplet 2. Where he gains his life experience is the choice of the individual but the URNU doesn't make him any more experienced of eligible than Triplet 2, who will always be at least three years ahead on pay increment & seniority.

    The "life experience" gained at uni is hardly a match of the "life experience" gained whilst earning a full-time wage in the Armed Forces, but for some, it certainly helps them gain selection.

    Triplet 1 starts on the same wage with a degree as Triplet 2, without and a non-vocational degree doesn't give anyone the edge with regard selection.
  9. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    R3, must admit I've not followed you progress, but am I right in assuming you're joining the RN as an Officer following your URNU involvement & graduation?
  10. I think the relavant point is the OP saying "I am sick of learning shit in the education system".
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  11. Understood, but disregarding the impact it will have on selection to the forces- for someone who is still young it is an option not to be sniffed at. Life experience i have no doubt whatsoever is more 'real' and varied in the forces, but it depends what you want at that age, it comes with a lot of responsibilty and despite the 3 year jump start essentially a full career is still within grasp starting that 3 years later. Just throwing it all out there is all :D there is so much on offer these days that it really is up to the individual what they want at that point in life. Just threw my 2 cents in as although there is a wealth of navy experience on here which i am sure many will impart to the OP to help them, just wanted to illuminate what modern universities can offer as well as there appears to be fewer grads on here to provide a balanced view and all that jazz.
  12. No, i have applied for Writer which my plan in 2010 but due to the waiting lists i decided to pursue my secondary 'dream' which was to get a degree. The plan was to apply straight away but of course that didn't happen, so i applied in March 2012 and have passed all of selection and just waiting for a start date. I was not a member of the URNU myself as i had a supervisors job which paid better haha- but knew people who were who enjoyed it, and although as i understand it in no way reflects the real navy it could be a way for OP to dip his toes in to slightly different yet blue waters. Plus i am bored and as stated in a previous debate about something just like the mental stimulation from time to time :p
  13. I joined the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer straight from school.

    Now that the seniority piece and pay have been made to reflect that the Non-grads were doing the same stuff as the grads (sometimes to a higher standard, there's no chip on my shoulder honest!), I'd thoroughly recommend to anyone who is capable of passing the AIB at 18 to go for it. The Warfare training pipeline results (on completion of the Initial Warfare Officers' Course) in a foundation degree in Naval Studies from the University of Plymouth, which you can then "top up" to a full honours degree via the Open University or a degree from the University of Portsmouth through distance learning.

    During that time you will also be gaining leadership qualifications and experience, doing a job that is frankly unrivalled elsewhere. There will be times when you drive a desk, but there will be plenty of hours spent with charge of a warship, responsible to the Captain for the safety of both it and the people within it.

    I personally think its sad that a certain Prime Minister created a climate of 50% of students to go to University, when we don't have 50% of jobs requiring degrees. What we need are highly trained apprentices etc. A degree is not necessarily a golden ticket for life, although that's not to say that a 2:1 or higher in a "proper" subject is a waste of time, individuals need to weigh up the best option for them.
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  14. I will also add this to further confuse the OP no doubt. I know someone who didn't go to university either. He applied for the marines, passed and was awarded the Kings Badge. Following a tour of Afghanistan he's now at CTCRM on a Corps Commission and even after that he still regrets not going to university.

    Posted from the Navy Net mobile app (Android / iOS)
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  15. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Had you applied whilst in university, you would have had a job waiting for you when you graduated. Anyone who has spent 5 years in further education earning qualifications that aren't required for their career aspiration is hardly going to admit it may have been a mistake. Any serving RN Officer with a non-vocational degree will tell you it was worth it, but since grads & non-grads now start on the same wage (it used to be double for grads), it simply doesn't make sense, as Potential_Officer correctly points out.

    The whole academic system constantly spews forth propaganda with regard gaining a degree, regardless of academic ability, because it generates revenue. A large part of those who "teach" in universities are a product of the metamorphosis from professional long-term student into a teacher of those that follow. Academia has actually discovered perpetual motion, but doesn't seem to realise it. :lol:
  16. As a Grad (but I was a UCE, so came out with no debt what so ever, cheers Pusser!), I would say getting a degree is worth something. I know plenty of people with degrees or without in the RN, and as a massive generalisation, those with a degree seem much more rounded and accepting of a life outside the RN.
  17. I applied part way through my second year (passed the RT March 2012) and graduated July 2013 so it was somewhat planning ahead just a bit off the mark as still no start date. I do understand that point of view but for me i will never regret going as for me as a person it was the absolutely perfect way to spend that part of my youth. I had so many opportunities and as a bit of a nerd i enjoyed the learning albeit admittingly less than i enjoyed the social life. Nobody in my extended family has ever been to university before so it wasn't something that i had been led to believe was the 'right' thing to do, i got good grades all through school except in 6th form where i left for various reasons and it was just what i wanted to do at that point in my life. As wet blobby said the navy will still be there in 3 years which is what my mindset was, if i never use my degree certificate for any job i think for me as a person it did more for me then anything else could have. Just an individual thing, i know a few of my friends leaving the navy and heading back in to education because they want to, just proves there is not an overwhelmingly correct route, just down to what individuals want. I dont either believe that everyone should be shoe horned into uni as a neccessity, but these days it is a viable option for many and if they want to then fair play. I dont view it as a ticket to anything in life, i will work just as hard as someone joining straight from school, i dont believe in any way it entitles me to anything- it was just an amazing 3 years, i did some amazing things and am proud of what i achieved. Just like people who join at 18 dont regret it, regrets i have none. (Except perhaps not applying a year earlier!)
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  18. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Those joining at age 21 tend to be more rounded than those aged 16 or 18, granted. Graduates also tend to be more "politicised".

    Times change & degrees are "two a penny" for ratings and Officers nowadays, compared to 5 or ten years ago. Not so long ago in a Recruit Troop of 55 Royals, 17 were graduates all doing the same job, earning the same pay with the same percentage of passes and fails.

    Vocational degrees, a completely different kettle of swimming things, but it is questionable whether a non-vocational degree in itself makes much difference - we don't even accept a degree in lieu of the UCAS requirement at A Level.
  19. Quite right, my last year of A-Levels were much much harder than my first year of university (the 2nd and 3rd years were tough though!). To pass first year all you need is 40%, a pathetically low amount and if you can't reach that then you should probably question why you chose university in the first place. I also know of another person who failed 1st year at least twice an absolute waste of time and money.
  20. What is right for some isnt right for others . I forced my daughter to finish her A levels . She put no effort into them and came out with 3 C's . She still hasnt forgiven my wife and I for letting her give up A levels and go straight in the Navy after her GCSE's. All she wanted was to be in the RN , I still dont know where that came from TBH. She battled through basic training with torn ligaments in her knees , having to have physio every day and new strappings and she refused to be stone walled and just battle through the pain, which the docs at Collingwood were not impressed about TBH when they had to fix it lol.

    She made friends for life . She is now seeing the world in one of the coolest jobs on the planet as far as Im concerned. The Navy is continuing her training whilst on deployment She is doing A level math one to one teaching with her Chief. She is aiming for a foundation engineering degree to start with along with all the NVQ stuff she has done already over the last 18 months. She has been on leadership courses , rock climbing , white water rafting, parashooting. She is also taking a photography course whilst on ship . She is socialising beyond belief and learning to live in close proximity with others, learning tollerence and how to support her crewmates. She has responcibility a sense of self worth and belief in what she is doing. She is learning how to manage a relationship with her boyfriend (also in the RN on subs) and planning her future career . The RN has given her drive, determination and the need to expand her skills . She wants a shiney sword but wants it after she has actually learnt about life in the RN. Her thoughts are if "I order someone to do something I want to have been there done that". She has learnt respect of others dedication to do a job the best it can be done .

    The Royal Navy is a university it seems to me. It is Education and the University of life of the highest order. IMHO of course.

    Oh yeah theres shit bits too but when isnt there. Both sides of the debate are correct if they fit in with who you are. Both can achieve the same results both can result in a degree it just depends on who you are and what you want.
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