Apprentice Catering Support (RFA)

Service:Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Hands on
Food and drink

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

As an Apprentice Steward in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), you’ll be on course for a first-class career in hospitality that will take you all over the world. It’s certainly not like any civilian job. Looking after catering, accommodation, mess rooms and the saloon, you’ll be a key part in helping protect our nation's interests. This is your opportunity to use your passion for hospitality, while all the time supporting the Royal Navy's vital work across the world, from Bahrain to the Bahamas.

If you have questions, talk to us

The role

  • Experience every aspect of the hospitality, gaining the skills needed to organise and host any event. You could be facilitating a diplomatic reception one day, and serving dignitaries at high-level functions the next.
  • Use your first-class organisational skills to maintain the highest possible standards at all times. The RFA may be a civilian organisation, but it still has a part to play in representing our nation all over the world. It’s your job to ensure every visitor leaves with the best possible impression.
  • As you look after the catering, accommodation and social areas of the ship, you’ll be key to maintaining the morale of our people. Many will be at sea for months at a time, so the home comforts you provide will be really important.
  • You’ll also have crucial duties to perform as part of the ship’s company, including firefighting, first aid, and being a member of the damage control team.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • A Hospitality Team Member Apprenticeship Level 2
  • MCA certification that is financially supported by the RFA
  • Gain a BTEC Level 1 Diploma in Functional Skills, Maths, English and ICT

Skills you'll develop

  • A comprehensive understanding of hospitality principles that will stay with you throughout your career
  • A first-class grounding in organising and hosting events 


Career progression

On completion of your Apprenticeship, you may be offered a full Company Service Contract as a Steward.

What you'll need


  • Aged at least 17 years 6 months to apply, and 18 years to commence employment. There is no upper age limit
  • No qualifications are required for this role
  • Must be British, Irish or Commonwealth citizens. However, a number of career paths have nationality restrictions. Dual Nationality will be considered providing the first nationality is British. Note: Residency restrictions may apply
  • Need to have confidence with jumping into water and the ability to wade whilst wearing a life jacket

Skills and interests

  • A passion for hospitality
  • A keen eye for detail
  • First-class organisational skills
  • A sense of adventure
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

  • Apply – Fill in an online application form
  • Eligibility – We will request copies of certification to ascertain your suitability for the role
  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA) – You will be asked to attend an Armed Forces Careers Office close to your home where you will conduct the DAA.
  • Sift – Your application will go forward for sift by a Subject Matter Expert (SME) who will check that you have the knowledge and potential to succeed in your chosen role
  • Training – If successful, you will be offered a place at HMS Raleigh where you will begin your initial training, then onto the Defence School of Logistics, Worthy Down
  • Interview - If you are successful at interview, you will be offered a contract

Initial training

As an apprentice you’ll combine real work with on and off the job training. You’ll complete 16 weeks training at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall, including your MCA basic safety training, before embarking on your first phase of sea training. After this, you take leave, then your second sea phase.