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Some questions about the LSO (Trainee) Role ahead of my SIFT Interview

Hello Guys,

As a bit of a lurker on Rum Ration, I know that people understandably get rather irked by those of us who turn up and say "hey, tell me everything about the role I've applied for!" and in doing so demonstrate that we haven't done the slightest bit of research for ourselves ;)
So I'll open this by sharing a portion of what I've put together over the last year of looking to join the RFA as an LSO trainee, if only to demonstrate that I've made an earnest effort to learn what I can! I'll present my specific questions at the end of the post for those of you who're kind enough to read all the way down there!

I've my SIFT interview for the LSO (Trainee) role coming up in two weeks and, naturally, am doing my best to make sure I go in prepared. I've found a list of commonly asked questions on this forum, as well as some other "standard" questions likely to be asked. I've written some mock essays on various RFA topics, compiled research on ranks, rates, departments and responsibilities.

Here's my general picture of an LSO:
The role

-Responsible for accommodation; laundry; catering; communal spaces; stores; payroll; pay advances; transportation; stores; damage control (during an emergency, dispatching damage control teams around the ship); general admin; managing the ship's budget
-Generally an office-based role, but as line manager for quite a disparate set of roles, can find themselves all over the ship.

Training
My understanding here is rather sketchy, and I'm not too clued up on the specifics, but I believe:
-10 weeks at Dartmouth, unknown if that includes ABLE or MARL
-2 years~ at Raleigh; of which (and I'm quoting my notes here) "9 weeks' ashore, 4 months at sea, 8 weeks ashore, 'qualifying in four months.'" That doesn't really add up to two years, though!

The Pay
-I think the salaries are about; £25,000 p/a for a trainee, £35,000 once qualified as a Third Officer and £62,000 p/a for a Chief Officer? In honesty I'm not too fussed about the salaries, I'm applying for this job for reasons of personal fulfillment, but I understand that SIFT interviewers will want you to show that you're familiar with the benefits/pension plan (perhaps to betray our strictly mercenary interests?).


My questions
Do RFA Trainees take part in ABLE and MARL (given that the RN site references learning to drive craft on the River Dart, I'm assuming MARL is likely a given) while at Dartmouth?
I've been working under the assumption that I'll be doing both (with regards to my exercises), so I suppose it doesn't make much of a difference, so this is more a matter of curiosity.
Is the Dartmouth course still the full ten weeks? I believe it is, but I found one video from 2013 where an LSO said his course had been 6 weeks.

Was my understanding of the breakdown of the training at Raleigh roughly correct?
And what form does the training really take? I mean, I presume the four months' at sea isn't just one voyage - is it dispersed throughout the period (e.g. a pair of two month deployments?).

What do the daily duties of an RFA LSO look like?
While I think I have a fair understanding of the responsibilities/scope of the role, I don't really know how this translates into an LSO's actual daily routine. Might anyone be able to provide some insight into what a "typical day" looks like for an LSO? I think this is something I may well be asked about in the interview.

Do you guys have any idea how Coronavirus is likely to affect the application process?
My SIFT interview, for example, is being conducted by Skype. In all honesty I'm rather disappointed as I'd both been looking forward to attending in-person and feel I interview much better face-to-face! What are they likely to do about the AIB? Obviously you can't do that over Skype!

I've been told that, should I be successful, I'd likely be starting at Dartmouth in June - with a SIFT at the start of February and starting the role in June, where might the AIB be likely to be placed in that interim?

What is the name of the RFA Pension Plan?
I know it's a "competitive civil service pension;" but will that answer be sufficient for a SIFT interviewer?

Thank you!
I'm rather nervous about the interview (who wouldn't be?), but I do feel like I've done a reasonable job of preparing over the last year. Today was just a bit of a shocker as it marks the two week countdown and so I'm in a bit of a fluster to really cram and refresh my knowledge by going over my notes. I've done my best to present the big gaps here.

At any rate, thank you very much for reading and for any help/information you might offer. I hope I managed to demonstrate that I have tried my best to gather information by myself - I was quite anxious about posting here for fear I might be perceived as not working hard enough on my own research.
 
Last edited:

Ryan Lowe

Newbie
I have only recently applied but from what I can gather having an understanding of the fleet / ship class names and what their duties include is a big one to cover.

Ryan.
 

RFA at HMS Raleigh

Lantern Swinger
Hello Guys,

As a bit of a lurker on Rum Ration, I know that people understandably get rather irked by those of us who turn up and say "hey, tell me everything about the role I've applied for!" and in doing so demonstrate that we haven't done the slightest bit of research for ourselves ;)
So I'll open this by sharing a portion of what I've put together over the last year of looking to join the RFA as an LSO trainee, if only to demonstrate that I've made an earnest effort to learn what I can! I'll present my specific questions at the end of the post for those of you who're kind enough to read all the way down there!

I've my SIFT interview for the LSO (Trainee) role coming up in two weeks and, naturally, am doing my best to make sure I go in prepared. I've found a list of commonly asked questions on this forum, as well as some other "standard" questions likely to be asked. I've written some mock essays on various RFA topics, compiled research on ranks, rates, departments and responsibilities.

Here's my general picture of an LSO:
The role

-Responsible for accommodation; laundry; catering; communal spaces; stores; payroll; pay advances; transportation; stores; damage control (during an emergency, dispatching damage control teams around the ship); general admin; managing the ship's budget
-Generally an office-based role, but as line manager for quite a disparate set of roles, can find themselves all over the ship.

Training
My understanding here is rather sketchy, and I'm not too clued up on the specifics, but I believe:
-10 weeks at Dartmouth, unknown if that includes ABLE or MARL
-2 years~ at Raleigh; of which (and I'm quoting my notes here) "9 weeks' ashore, 4 months at sea, 8 weeks ashore, 'qualifying in four months.'" That doesn't really add up to two years, though!

Training not at Raleigh now, moved at the end of 2019 to Worthy Down in Hampshire.
2 x 4 month trips + 2 1 month leave period is 10 months. training at worthy down is two blocks as you stated. however it is not exactly
The Pay
-I think the salaries are about; £25,000 p/a for a trainee, £35,000 once qualified as a Third Officer and £62,000 p/a for a Chief Officer? In honesty I'm not too fussed about the salaries, I'm applying for this job for reasons of personal fulfillment, but I understand that SIFT interviewers will want you to show that you're familiar with the benefits/pension plan (perhaps to betray our strictly mercenary interests?).
salaries about right

My questions
Do RFA Trainees take part in ABLE and MARL (given that the RN site references learning to drive craft on the River Dart, I'm assuming MARL is likely a given) while at Dartmouth?
I've been working under the assumption that I'll be doing both (with regards to my exercises), so I suppose it doesn't make much of a difference, so this is more a matter of curiosity.
Is the Dartmouth course still the full ten weeks? I believe it is, but I found one video from 2013 where an LSO said his e.course had been 6 weeks.
I changed Dartmouth from 7 to 8 weeks in 2012 then changed to 10 weeks in 2015
MARL has evolved, so will be on boats, but may not be, depends on the intake size
Was my understanding of the breakdown of the training at Raleigh roughly correct?
And what form does the training really take? I mean, I presume the four months' at sea isn't just one voyage - is it dispersed throughout the period (e.g. a pair of two month deployments?).
normally a month month trip then 1 month leave
What do the daily duties of an RFA LSO look like?
While I think I have a fair understanding of the responsibilities/scope of the role, I don't really know how this translates into an LSO's actual daily routine. Might anyone be able to provide some insight into what a "typical day" looks like for an LSO? I think this is something I may well be asked about in the interview.
In the office from 0800 - 1700 daily dealing with desk enquiries as a 3/O other duties take you out of ffice but mostly in the office. Training has ship wide tasks to allow you to develop knowledge of whole ship routines and activities.
Do you guys have any idea how Coronavirus is likely to affect the application process?
My SIFT interview, for example, is being conducted by Skype. In all honesty I'm rather disappointed as I'd both been looking forward to attending in-person and feel I interview much better face-to-face! What are they likely to do about the AIB? Obviously you can't do that over Skype!
Things have changed and will evolve, so can not give an exact answer atm.
I've been told that, should I be successful, I'd likely be starting at Dartmouth in June - with a SIFT at the start of February and starting the role in June, where might the AIB be likely to be placed in that interim?

What is the name of the RFA Pension Plan?
I know it's a "competitive civil service pension;" but will that answer be sufficient for a SIFT interviewer?

Thank you!
I'm rather nervous about the interview (who wouldn't be?), but I do feel like I've done a reasonable job of preparing over the last year. Today was just a bit of a shocker as it marks the two week countdown and so I'm in a bit of a fluster to really cram and refresh my knowledge by going over my notes. I've done my best to present the big gaps here.

At any rate, thank you very much for reading and for any help/information you might offer. I hope I managed to demonstrate that I have tried my best to gather information by myself - I was quite anxious about posting here for fear I might be perceived as not working hard enough on my own research.
 
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