Training, progression and development in the RFA

RFA personnel have all the benefits that come from being Ministry of Defence employed civil servants, while also being able to take advantage of the world-class facilities and training provided by the Royal Navy and leading professional and industry bodies such as the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA). That means you’ll be on course for a first-class maritime career from the moment you join, specialising in areas of your choice and tailoring your career to suit you.

Initial training

As a Royal Fleet Auxiliary rating, your training begins at one of three places; HMS Raleigh, HMS Sultan or HMS Collingwood. Wherever you’re based initially, the training you’ll receive will give you the basics you need to do your job. Like the basic military training completed by Royal Navy ratings, the skills you gain here will stay with you throughout your career.

Officer training begins at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) at Dartmouth. Here, you’ll spend ten weeks learning about us and our role, and developing your leadership and management skills before embarking on your Maritime Coastguard Agency accredited cadetship or utilising your previously earned Certificates of Competency within the wider fleet.



Professional development

Throughout your training, you’ll learn the specialist skills you need to do your job in even the most challenging conditions. You’ll gain these through a combination of time at sea and in the classroom.

It’s the start of a training process that will last right through your career. The exact length, location and content of your training depends on your job. For some jobs, such as Deck Officer, you’ll go straight to sea from Britannia Royal Naval College. Other roles might require a more prolonged period of education.

Once you have settled in to your normal working pattern you’ll regularly have access to professional courses that are recognised across the merchant shipping industry. You may even qualify for additional time off to study and get your fees paid by us.

When you go to sea you will be part of the ships management organanisation and will need to get the most out of your team  

Career progression

All promotion in the RFA is on merit and additionally gained qualifications. When you qualify from cadetship or apprenticeship as you move up the career ladder, the more opportunities become available to you, and the better your benefits and renumeration package. 

Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel at work.