Frequently Asked Questions

Joining

  • Are there any age limits?

    Those accepted for Trainee Rating positions must be at least 16 years old – but there is no upper age limit. For Officer Cadetships, you have to be at least 15 years and 9 nine months old. There is no upper age limit.

  • How long does the application process take?

    It depends on which branch you wish to join and whether you want to join as an Officer or a Rating but you can expect the process to last approximately six months.

  • What qualifications do I need?

    For a position as a Trainee Rating, you'll require a basic level of secondary education – a lot of training is 'on the job'. To be accepted onto our Officer Cadet programme, you'll need a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 'C' or above, including Maths at grade 'B' or above, English, and Chemistry, Physics or Dual Science at ‘B’ (English can be a ‘C’ if Engineering Cadet). If you have good passes at A-level in these or other subjects, you could enter our Foundation Degree Officer Cadet programme. The RFA also looks to employ experienced seafarers, across all specialisations, with the required MCA certification.

Pension

  • Do I receive a pension if I serve in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary?

    Yes, when you’re in the RFA you’re a civil servant, so you qualify for the standard civil service pension. For more information visit: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/pensions.

Leaving

  • Do I receive a pension if I serve in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary?

    Yes, when you’re in the RFA you’re a civil servant, so you qualify for the standard civil service pension. For more information visit: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/pensions.

Pay

  • How does the pay in the RFA compare with that of other Merchant Navy careers?

    Pay is very competitive and you will receive a starting salary in line with your level of experience and qualifications.

Training

  • How long is the training?

    If you have no previous seafaring qualifications, initial Apprentice training lasts between 11 and 29 weeks either at HMS Raleigh (for Logistics), HMS Collingwood (for Communications) or HMS Sultan (for Engineering). Whereas Officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College lasts ten weeks. If you are already qualified, you will attend a short induction course and then go to sea to continue your career in that trade.

  • Will I go through the same training as the full time Royal Navy recruits?

    No. You will train at the same centres, but you won’t have to complete the same training. You will learn enough about military life so you can be effective in your job.

Holiday

  • How much annual leave will I get a year?

    Each time you complete a four-month deployment, you’ll head off on earned voyage leave (a combination of holiday entitlement, worked weekends, and bank holidays). As an Officer or Rating you’ll have 84 days paid leave before you go to sea again.

Benefits

  • What benefits will I receive when I join?

    You will be entitled to free medical and dental care and a generous leave entitlement. You will also earn a fantastic pension as well as maternity or paternity benefits.

Cadetships

  • What do I need to become a cadet?

    Depending on the type of cadetship that you choose, you will need at least five GCSEs, Take a look at the requirements for each role for more information.