Should I do A levels and become an officer even though I've already applied as a rating?

Discussion in 'Joining the Royal Navy' started by Walter_white, Apr 2, 2016.

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  1. Hi everyone, I'm 16 years old and a month off my GCSEs. I've applied for the navy as an AET and they told my I'll need to wait till around Feb 2017. Should I let them know I want to do A levels and wait another year and apply for the same job or shall I gain a levels first and take it from there. If so when I get a levels how do you become an officer. I'm 5'6 would this be inappropriate for an officer. thanks all
  2. Corbett served in the RAF as an aircraftman 2nd class during his national service, before being commissioned into the Air Force's secretarial branch as a pilot officer (national service) in May 1950.

    During his time in service, he was the shortest commissioned officer in the British Armed Forces, receiving the service number 2446942.

    Corbett's period of active service ended when he was transferred to the reserve (national service list) on 28 October 1951, although he was promoted to flying officer in autumn the following year.
    He was 5' 1" and served at RAF Bridgnorth
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  3. Nowhere near being a proper recruiter, so take all this with caution... (@Ninja_Stoker is our resident expert on these matters and will hopefully correct my errors) I'd think carefully whether you want to go rating or officer, then decide on that basis: if you want officer you'll need decent A-levels. With those, apply and you'll sit the Admiralty Interview Board, which will assess your potential as an officer: pass that well enough and you'll start training at BRNC Dartmouth.

    Your height's not an issue at all - while I'm 6' 2" of lean, muscular, square-jawed heroism (well, the height's true anyway...) I'm not aware of any minimum or maximum heights - as long as you can pass the fitness tests and get through training. I worked for years with an absolutely excellent[1] officer who was about your height (he'd had COVENTRY sunk under him and he was PWO on GLOUCESTER when she shot down an Iraqi missile, so being "not tall" hadn't held him back particularly)

    [1] As far as being the rocket scientist to his tactical development job, anyway, but he was a genuinely nice guy - long ago passed over for his third stripe which meant he was happy to speak truth to power, had a work ethic that made Comrade Stakhanov look like a lazy slacker, was much brighter than he liked to admit, and very patient about explaining how the realities of shipborne life got in the way of elegant engineering theory or neat operational analysis.
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  4. Great info thanks mate! By the way I'm not the type of shouting character which could be a major flaw and I can be quite a quiet person at first. Like I say I'd rather be shouted at than shout at someone else. My main motive is to learn a trade which is AET and i think that will be fantastic for me to have a skill. So I wouldn't have to commit my whole life to the navy. I can be clever when I want to be but I hate GCSEs because I hate classroom work and sitting down with all my teenage energy. I absolutely hate it!
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  5. It's the best I can give you, but it may not be right - others might do better.

    Leadership's not much about shouting - I've made it to become a junior officer in the RNR and I've hardly shouted at anyone ever. Spoken firmly and loudly (over other conversations/background noise, or tone-of-command for drill) occasionally but I just don't do assertive or loud much, and I've managed to make it through the system.

    I'm old enough that "Aspergers' Syndrome" was still an academic curiosity rather than a popular diagnosis when I went through school, but I fit it fairly well (naturally introverted, strong interests in niche subjects, not great at non-verbal communication) - I went for a Territorial Army commission in 1996 and didn't pass selection, went for RNR AIB in 2008 and passed it as a mix of older and wiser plus the Navy looking for different strengths. To be honest I'm impressed that the UOTC I joined in 1989 took me on, I was such a sad case... (but it did do a lot for me and I'm genuinely grateful they pitied me)

    The holy trinity for officers is "command, leadership, management". Command is "I have gold stripes on my shoulders and you don't, so do what I say or I'll have you punished, jailed or shot!" Outside serious emergencies, falling back on shouty rank will not make you respected or loved and won't make the people working with you interested in helping you out of any mistakes or errors you make - and if you don't realise how important that is, you should. Management is making sure your people have what they need to do what they're being told to do, whether it's knowledge, training, equipment... and leadership is getting people to do what you ask them to do because *they* decide to do it and think it's important even if it's a pain in the proverbial, rather than because you were shouting at them.

    It's sounding, from your posts, that you'd be happier getting in hands-on as an AET and actually doing stuff: as an officer you'll be politely told to step away from the spanners because in that role, your job is not being a technical expert or learning a trade (I'm in a bit of a niche where as an officer I still get to be a weapons geek) but to ensure your team is trained, capable and equipped to do the work - not to do it yourself. And while I did them as GCEs in the 1980s, if you hate GCSEs I think you'll be really unhappy with A-levels.

    From what you've said here, I'd suggest buckle down on your GCSEs, horrible or not, and smash out the best results you possibly can; that can be quite important for surprisingly long in your life. Then go for AET with the Navy, and see where you end up from there. But that's just me and all I know is two of your posts here.

    Best of luck, whichever way you go.
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  6. WOW! You have been such a massive help thank you
  7. You are me a lot of years ago. So much so that despite having been accepted as an Artificer Apprentice, I binned it when I found it it meant lots of classroom work. Big mistake! I spent 4 years as a seaman!

    Whatever you do in life there will a classroom of some sort, somewhere.

    My biggest regret about my time in the RN is NOT becoming an oficer, but only ecause now I would have a much larger penson than I do as a time served Chief!

    Crack on and get the A Levels, then give the AIB a go. If nothing else, then you still have the A Levels for a decent Uni. Why not also join your local Sea Cadet unit for a bit of fun and fitness and also a glimpse at life in the RN? They do courses etc at RN establishments.

    Hope this helps.
  8. Get A levels and try the officer route, if you fail at least you tried and you won't regret it later on in life.
  9. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    If you have the aptitude and interest in being an Officer I'd suggest you try for that as your first aim. It takes considerably longer, generally, than people expect to commission from the Ranks. Whilst I have no doubt you'd enjoy your time as a Rating and many SUYs have experiences and qualifications that make them great people and Officers, they are then, generally, under a bit of a glass ceiling in terms of promotion prospects and job types.

    To give yourself the broadest possible opportunity I'd sit your A levels and think about it, 2 years won't harm you, you'll mature and have a better idea of what you want to do and with decent results be better armed for whatever you choose next.

    Best of luck
  10. Head for officer if you can, I always think if you head as high as you can it gives your more options?
    Also if you join the RN, there will always be the next training course, which could mean back to school.
    SB 4 years a dabber that explains a lot:D
    Also similar to SB I was offered or asked if I wanted to be an Artificer I said I wanted to be an electrician, mistake possibly, I eventually started my apprenticeship at 26 yrs, I had become a petty officer by then so promotion wise it put me back 4 years but tech training back by about 6 to 10 years
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
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  11. Cheers for the advice mate
  12. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Some good solid advice above & I'd endorse it fully.

    Heightwise, you're fine. (min 151.5cms General Service, min 157 cms submariners)

    Just to make you aware, the educational attainment prior to entry means the individual either meets or doesn't meet the eligibility criteria to apply as a direct entry officer, it doesn't mean the academic standard achieved bears any direct relation to their leadership potential.

    As an AET, you'll be doing a hands-on job in an initially non-supervisory role. Within the service you can achieve a foundation degree in aeronautical engineering if you get as far as Petty Officer qualifying course. You can, if you wish, top it up to a BSc, through service funding.

    You can apply for officer now, but entry will be deferred, pending your A level results meeting the UCAS standard (which changes next year). At present two grade Cs or three Ds is enough, assuming you have the five GCSEs (A*-C including maths and English).

    One thing to bear in mind - around 40% of Engineering Officers joined as Ratings. You only need the mandated 5 GCSEs to apply for Officer from within the service (no A Level requirement), need to demonstrate you have the qualities required through your appraisal reports.

    One thing to be aware, as an AET, you will be undertaking plenty of classroom instruction after you join HMS Sultan. Current wait for AET, test to entry, assuming there are no delays, is about 7 months (ish).
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  13. Thanks alot that's been a huge help. I've passed my recruit test and interview but got my medical next. Could I do all of the recruitment processes and then do a levels but once I've done them go straight in at 18?
  14. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    You can, but each selection element is only valid 12 months under normal circumstances. With the exception of the recruit test (3 year validity), all time expired elements would need completing again. The only exception is those Officer applicants scoring exceptionally well, can be offered a reserved place which means an AIB pass remains valid (but everything else needs to be kept valid/retaken after 12 months).
  15. NS Jim 157cm for boats? That would mean lots I served with would be to Short today, or is that direct entry?
  16. I can vouch for that as an SUY Engineer Officer myself, however I will say that if you're looking at AET there are far more UY/SUY candidates than places available as an AE Officer. I went through BRNC and SEMC with a CPOAET who was becoming a WE because he stood more chance of selection, and there have been a number of former AET's that have gone down the MESM Officer route for the same reason.

    I would back up what's been said already. Aim as high as you can now or you may regret it later. While I enjoyed my time as a maintainer, I am limited in my reach as an Officer owing to the age I commissioned at. I was impatient to join, I couldn't even wait a year to resit a test to join as an Artificer and so like Sumo joined as a Mechanic, which meant I wasn't a Chief until I was in my early thirties rather than my mid twenties, and consequently wasn't in a position to be considered for a commission until later still. That's a lot of potential earnings missed out on too, not to mention pension.

    That said, as an Engineer Officer you are a leader and a manager, not a 'doer'. If being the guy that fixes stuff is what you want than it's not the job for you. I have really enjoyed my time as an Officer and I particularly enjoy the Leadership & Management aspect of it but at the risk of contradicting myself, I'm not sure I was ready for it in my twenties. I did enjoy being a maintainer but I got to a point where that was no longer the case and so I applied for a commission. Perhaps fortunately for me the RN is short of WESM Officers and so I was successful. It's by no means guaranteed though, even if you pass at the AIB.

    To summarise this waffle; if an Officer role interests you then go for that, you may end up regretting it later if you don't. However, don't kid yourself you'll be doing any 'hands-on' engineering if you do. You can offer advice when it's needed but if being the man with the spanner/screwdriver in your hand is what interests you more, than joining as a Rating is the way ahead.
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  17. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Yep, I imagine it's something to do with reaching valves/operating emergency escape systems, EBS, or damage repair stuff.

    Not sure whether it applies to 'in service' transfers, but would imagine it does (although not applied retrospectively).
  18. Wow it was always good to have a short arrsed ferret to send down the bilges
  19. I'll have you know I was a very highly qualified upperdeck technician....
  20. Painting, scrubbing & polishing?

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