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I realise this could have gone in either of the forums, I just got to this one first :)

The girlfriend starts at uni this autumn, and she's still umming and ahhhing over which one to join. I've tried explaining the difference, but I'm at a bit of handicap as I can only speak from the TA/OTC perspective.

As far as I know, she doesn't have any aspiration to join the regular RN, although she's happy to stay in the RNR if she likes it. Her main motivation for joining the navy, as I understand it, is to gain some experience of working at sea (she wants to be a marine archaeologist), as well as making a bit of cash on the side. She has expressed an interest in the UWFP branch, and was pleasantly surprised to find out she could join the intelligence branch as a rating.

I know how long the enlistment process takes, so both of us want her to make the right choice. Can anyone shed any light?

It's all about how long it takes to get onto the trained strength. I think that that's about 2 years before you're deployable in the RNR (someone jump in if wrong) so she wouldn't get to do much at uni until her final year- when she'll probably want to do as little as possible whichever she joins what with all the exams.

TBH, I'd say go with the URNU- they'll get her away to sea for a weekend within about a fortnight of joining, you can make beer money out of it, and you get an introduction to the RN with all of the fun bits and none of the commitment. At the end of Uni, if she liked it, she could stay on as an URNU Training Officer or go across to the RNR or the regulars. I went through the URNU in preference to the RNR before I joined the RN, and certainly didn't regret it.

Hopefully, someone will now pop up and say the opposite so that she can make a balanced judgement :money:


Have to agree with Kinross - Join the URNU. She'll have more fun and spend more time at sea - and none of the risk of being deployed just as she hits the 3rd year! The RNR is always an option after she's finished.


War Hero
I didn't think the URNU got paid??? Well, you learn a little something every day! Do they get bounty too?

I'm not sure how long it takes to get into the URNU (before you start getting paid etc) but the RNR will take at least six months before you start getting paid. This is while they process your security clearance and you undertake entry test, medical, interview and pre-joining fitness test.

Following this your first two weeks ORT will be HMS Raleigh (or BRNC for orafices) after which you would go onto branch training.

I'm not too familiar how it works for officers but JR's career path is very much branch dependant. Warfare Seaman it will take 3 years to reach trained strength (deployable).

Year 1 - Raleigh
Year 2 - 518 weapon course, 547 Ships Protection course.
Year 3 BSSC and 1st aid.

If you have lost of time on your hands to do courses it can be done much quicker but gernerally this is the norm.

If you are in full time education then it is highly unlikley that you will be mobilised.

Hope this helps.
Yep, pay is as a Snotty for all time done- used to be 1/3 of a day for a drill night. You also get uniform upkeep allowance and a bounty of sorts- although not the full RNR one, which you did when I went through but they changed it!

No reason why you shouldn't get paid from the first drill night. Used to be about 2 weeks from Fresher's Fair to being interviewed and accepted, then a run down to Pompey or wherever to get your kit issued about a week after that. On the paid books in less than a month anyway. (At least it was 1999-2001)


Lantern Swinger
I would echo kinross_special and Vivid_Diver's comments. The URNU probably offers more opportunities and is specifically designed around providing students with a Navy experience. In the URNU they do get paid, just like the OTC - in reality the similarities between the TA/OTC and RNR/URNU are quite widespread.

The biggie is, of course, that in the RNR you are being trained up to specifically to support the RN as and when required (= potential to be called up), which isn't the case with the URNUs, which none the less (from what I've ascertained from those I know who've been through them) offer a great Naval experience.

It also takes a lot longer to get into the RNR than an URNU, and the branch training isn't really there. One year of getting up to speed and you're there pretty much in an URNU.


trehorn said:
... but the RNR will take at least six months before you start getting paid.

Six months??? And the rest! If you get paid after a mere 6 months you're doing well. I joined up a year ago and still haven't been paid.

But to come back to the original question, you really wouldn't want to get mobilised in your final year at uni, so I think URNU is the sensible option. If she decides to join the RNR after uni, the URNU will have been valuable experience.


Unless things are radically different in the RNR than TA, I thought full-time education was one of the 7 (almost) guaranteed "get out of mobilisation free" cards?

If that's no the case, the the URNU is a no-brainer.


War Hero
I'd say URNU - I'm not a huge fan of them in some ways, but they are a good taster course, and she'll get some cash (£30-£40per day) plus a lot more opportunities.
Basically its cadets with money, whereas the RNR should be seen as potentially a far more serious commitment indeed.

Do the URNU, enjoy yourself and then look at your options in 3 years time.


War Hero
Worth pointing out btw that being in full-time education will exempt you from mobilisation, so don't worry about being called out while in the middle of your course.

If she doesn't plan on the RN being her full-time career, go URNU. Otherwise RNR (fwiw this was the advice I was given by an RN careers adviser).

NautiusMaximus said:
trehorn said:
... but the RNR will take at least six months before you start getting paid.

Six months??? And the rest! If you get paid after a mere 6 months you're doing well. I joined up a year ago and still haven't been paid.

Your mileage may vary on this one - I was paid within a month of joining.
But that was pre-JPA and when we had PSI writers ;)
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