Thinking of applying to RNR

Discussion in 'Royal Naval Reserve (RNR)' started by Keypusher, Apr 1, 2014.

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  1. Hello. I'm weighing up my options, reading around and as a result have some questions. Spoke to the AFCO today who then passed me around two offices until I was given the phone number of a Chief at my nearest unit. Haven't got through to him yet - I think they must have knocked off at 4pm as the general enquiries line was dead, as well.

    So, while I wait, if I describe a few of my ambitions/expectations than perhaps someone can tell me if I'm being realistic or not. Things I'm looking for include:

    1. a real purpose in the organisation, not just gap-filling for deployed regulars (while I understand that this is necessary and needful at times, I want to do more than just that).

    2. prospects, development, new skills, promotion. Watch keeping, for instance. I read a recruitment piece online somewhere in which a reserve officer talked about being watchkeeper on an amphib during exercises and that, apparently, all the ships involved had reservists performing this role. Sounded cool.

    3. promotion. Does it happen? How fast/slow?

    4. education. Is the Defence Learning Portal useful? Can it help improve your civilian C.V.?

    5. wider opportunities for interacting with the other services, deploying with other services, getting on training courses, etc. Most of the advanced training is going purple now, isn't it?

    Basically, if I went in I'd want to make the most of all my opportunities, but I can't do that on my own. I need my unit/organisation to support my ambitions and not roadblock me...

    Perhaps you can guess that I've just been reading some of the threads, below. Some posters have painted a very grim picture of the RNR and the RN's attitude towards it. I'm trying to figure out how to digest this information and what relevance it may have, particularly when I read bright and shiny accounts like this one:
    My Civil Service

    This guy went into Media Operations and I found this interesting because, reading through both the RNR and RAF reserves literature, Media was one of the things I noticed that I could probably do very well. And this guy seems to have deployed a lot and been pretty active. I also think that my aptitudes and background probably suit me to intelligence. But is it any fun? Or would I just become a power point junky whether I did media or intel? As far as I can tell I meet all the educational requirements stipulated by both the RNR and RAF reserves for both of these specialisms... yes, I mentioned the RAF. While, I've always been interested in the navy and its history, I'm remaining objective. I'm also going to make enquiries at my nearest RAF station. Theoretically, the one who offers the best deal gets the prize... me! :glasses8:

    So, are my ambitions listed above realistic? Can I do any of this with the RNR? Should I ignore this forum and all its scare stories?

    Cheers
     
  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    It does rather sound like you are doing us a favour.

    Have you looked at joining the Army Reserve?


    • They give you £300 upon joining
    • £1000 for completing phase one training
    • £1000 for completing phase two training

    Ex-Regulars who they have previously sacked/made redundant from the Regular Army get £10,000 Commitment bonus. Bargain, eh?

    (Reference source: Defence Internal Brief 2014DIB/17 dated 18 March 2014)

    The RNR & RMR have several £Million to play with, specifically for recruiting to meet FR2020, but won't even spend the money on extra recruiters to process applicants to meet their targets and improve efficiency, let alone offer recruiting bounties. The words "Piss-up" and "Brewery" spring to mind.

    It's a bit of a no-brainer.
     
  3. Purple_twiglet

    Purple_twiglet War Hero Moderator

    Ambition is always healthy, but the RNR as an organisation expects you to meet its requirements and not the other way round. Promotion is slow, talent is rarely recognised, and my own personal experience (your own may vary) is that being keen and volunteering to do more than the minimum results in frustration and dissapointment.

    The piece about the Media Ops branch is actually a really nice recruitment piece, and sums up a branch which often gets a lot of jealous flak, but in fact does an amazing job of trying to keep the RN in the public eye. Do other branches get the same excitment - well its hard to tell - anything you do at first which is new is always going to be fun. A lot of the cynicism comes from people who've been in for longer and see the same wheels being reinvented, or needless admin being placed in our path and a desire to do more stymied by often stifling officialdom which seems more to perpetuate small empires than any real need.

    The fundamental issue the RNR has is that it doesnt have a single coherent vision that the Naval Service as a whole gets for it. There are small parts of the RN who think bits of what the RNR can do is great, but given how small these areas are, and how it is entirely possible for a Regular to spend their entire career without ever encountering a Reservist, the real challenge is working out what the RNR can do that doesnt feel like a patronising sop, handing off of gash jobs that no one wants to do, and is sufficiently interesting to keep people in for the long haul.

    There are some very niche RNR areas that are good fun and rewarding, but this often takes many years to get to. The problem is that people come through an outstanding new entry programme, then often have a long wait to get to a level of operational proficiency where they are of deployable value in most branches, and this is where they tend to walk. My very real concern is the huge retention problem, and how making the retention offer as compelling as the recruitment offer - at present, my own experience suggests that the longer you stay in, the less the RNR values what you as a person have to offer the system.
     
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  4. To answer your questions, as best I can


    1. a real purpose in the organisation, not just gap-filling for deployed regulars (while I understand that this is necessary and needful at times, I want to do more than just that).


    The RNR, is what it says on the tin, a RESERVE, whatever we are doing today, it won't be what we are doing in 10 yrs time. Currently, if you have the time, you can fly through the Initial Training and Branch Training, and get yourself either mobilised or on a Full Time Reserve Forces contract in short order. Today, you could be an AB in a seagoing ship, filling a gapped position, or a LT CDR on a 9 month mobilisation in the deployable Battle Staff, or a Logs Lt, running a forward logistics site in Africa. All good, and rewarding jobs.


    2. prospects, development, new skills, promotion. Watch keeping, for instance. I read a recruitment piece online somewhere in which a reserve officer talked about being watchkeeper on an amphib during exercises and that, apparently, all the ships involved had reservists performing this role. Sounded cool.
    This depends very much on which branch you join. The best way to find out really what's on offer is to get down to your local unit and ask the team there what they actually do. The AW branch certainly do conduct a very worthwhile role that the RN /RM really need. But don't think you will be an OOW on a Frigate, that just isn't going to happen.


    3. promotion. Does it happen? How fast/slow?
    Depends on ability and commitment. If you are exceptionally able, but can't do anything more than 24 days a year, promotion is unlikely, equally, despite what some think, if you can spare 100 days a year, turn up for everything, but can't provide your command with decent outputs, you are equally unlikely to get promoted. There are some who have flown through the ranks/rates (luck is part of it - but the best make their own luck)


    4. education. Is the Defence Learning Portal useful? Can it help improve your civilian C.V.?
    Certainly. Your CV will be enhanced, but that shouldn't be the sole reason for joining.


    5. wider opportunities for interacting with the other services, deploying with other services, getting on training courses, etc. Most of the advanced training is going purple now, isn't it?
    How much more joint and combined can you be if you are a staff officer in a multi-national HQ? Granted, land ops are reducing, but what's around the corner (do you speak Ukranian?)


    Basically, if I went in I'd want to make the most of all my opportunities, but I can't do that on my own. I need my unit/organisation to support my ambitions and not roadblock me...


    Only one person is responsible for promotion, the individual, many people can stop you getting promoted, but only one person can get you promoted - and that's you. Just like civilian life.


    To sum. Keenness, ability and commitment count for much, and with those you can climb high. But the RNR does not pay your mortgage - you will do well to remember that.


    Good luck.
     
  5. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    In other words:

    "Join us, get buggered about, don't go to sea, take several years to be trained in an obscure, non-transferable trade, then feel altruistic about yourself as well as skint".
     
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  6. NJ
    not quite the interpretation I had in mind, but certainly made me smile

    :)
     
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  7. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Humour. It must never be overlooked when it comes to recruiting & advertising. I reckon, anyway.

    Sadly, the money being wasted on media advertising "experts" which could be more constructively spent on recruiting those who are already interested in joining but get hacked-off waiting, waiting, waiting to join, makes me want to weep.

    There's a complete disconnect. Collectively we stimulate plenty of interest in the Maritime Reserves then don't have the capacity to process or prioritise those who express an interest to join, what is effectively, just a part-time job.

    Take it a step further, we can't even retain those who we begin to train.

    What do we do? Stimulate even more interest through advertising, increase the admin burden to gridlock, then fail to process and retain those who we have recruited.

    Bonkers.

    Join the TA, or whatever they're called this week.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. exJenny

    exJenny War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Some people think we are RNR, well the ones that don't think we're RAF do.
     
  9. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    What, the RFA isn't for dyslexic Spitfire pilots?

    Not what I've heard...
     
  10. "yes yes yes" because in return they get to send me away for up to 12 months to places where I might get shot at, kidnapped, injured or die of some disease. And for all of this they do not propose to pay me a pension or cover the mortgage. I think they're still getting the better half of the deal.

    Told them both today. They couldn't have been less bothered and both, in the very same breath, invited me to a presentation/evening. Perhaps they're not as parochial or precious as your remark suggests?

    Not until now! ;-)

    This bends my brain even as an interested outside observer. Hammond himself talks up the reserves: it isn't some junior minister grabbing glory by having a go at setting policy. And all the official lines coming out of Whitehall seem to agree on how much more necessary and integral the reserves will be in the future, and that this will become the new normal. How on earth can the RN not have noticed?

    Technical question: can you go into this branch as a rating or do you have to get commissioned, first?


    Ah! That's the RNR I was looking for!

    Technical question: what is AW branch? Google fails me on this one and I can't think of anything other than Air Warfare.


    No, and neither will anyone else if Putin has his way. Who would'a thunk that the Cold War would sneak back onto the agenda after all this time? All those folks on the E-3s who have been boning up on their arabic are probably scrambling to find their old Russki phrase books, while Condeleezza Rice is probably kicking herself that she didn't stay with the Democrats and been Secretary of State right now, when her favourite degree subject suddenly makes her relevant and topical, again! But this is another thread...


    Amen.

    Hmm. Maybe I'll join the Bolivian Navy instead.

    Thanks all for your replies.
     
  11. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Which, the Peoples Front of the Bolivian Navy?

    Splitters.
     
  12. KP
    sorry, my bad. AW = Amphibious Warfare. The branch that embarks in the RN's AW ships (ALBION, BULWARK, OCEAN + some RFAs) to ensure the Royal Marines get ashore in thier landing craft at the right time, in the right order etc. not my branch, but, by all accounts, quite a punchy one.
     
  13. NJ
    who are you calling "big nose"?
    and
    He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!
     
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  14. I can see I will have to bone up on my Monty Python references =-\\\\\\\\ Is there a course on it?

    Oh, even cooler. I like the amphibs. Very relevant and pointy end of the spear. But don't you have to have been in the Merchant Navy for that one?
     
  15. No previous MN or RN experience required
     
  16. Revise your Blackadder, as well, would be my advice. You may need several iterations of cunning plan...
     
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  17. There's only one flaw in that plan Jrwlynch.
    whats that?
    its Bollicks.
    :)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  18. Phew, that's a relief. Now I don't regret turning down that offer to become a French Admiral's ladyboy.
     
  19. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Sixpence for a kiss, a goodnight story and a good hard shag.
     
  20. The Frog couldn't afford me, despite all that gold braid hanging off him :D

    Anyway...

    Update, with questions to follow.

    More reading and cogitating has resulted in me ironing down what I want to ask about when I go to the presentation evening next week.

    I am, in no particular order, interested in:
    - media ops
    - AW
    - intelligence

    I've always followed the exploits of the amphibs and always thought they were a good investment, so my interest there is no surprise - just confirmed by some remarks on here. Plus, I'm enticed by the idea of being involved with the RM and maybe getting sand between my toes now and then.

    I think I could be good at Media ops: I think I may have a lot of aptitude and appropriate background for that one.

    Intelligence. Don't hiss, but this largely comes from what I've been reading about that branch while researching the RAF reserve and I think much of the aptitude and background that would help with media probably transfers (at least in my case). Plus, I've never been a straight line thinker, love reading up on stuff, and like to fill in the blanks between the lines of news reports with what is probably happening verses the diluted journo version of events.

    Questions


    I can see at least two problems with all this:

    1. I believe it's the case that you can't enter the RN Int branch directly, but only after time served. But that's probably ok as it would give me a chance to do something else first, and thus keep life interesting and the C.V. broad.

    2. I can't find any evidence of ratings working in these areas. All the references and pictures show commissioned officers, and so...

    2.a. If it's the case that I'd need to be officer to do media or AW and, perhaps, ultimately Int, is it advisable to ask for direct entry (correct term?) at this stage? Or would my chances of getting a commission improve with a couple of years as a rating, first? Or would I be locked into the NCO career path and less likely to be moved on?

    I'm pretty sure I have the quals/points for a commission but need to double-check (GCSE/A-Level was a long time and two degrees ago).

    Final thought: would I attract scorn and bad character references from the recruiter for asking about a commission? I'm not a snob (I've spoken to some who are in this regard) and don't wish to be tarred with that brush.
     

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