Apprentice Chef (RFA)

Service:Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Food and drink
  • This role is not currently being recruited for

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The role at a glance

What you’ll do

It’s not just our engines that need fuel, our people do too. As an Apprentice Chef, you’re the person who provides it, with three square meals every day. The nutritious food you provide will keep your crewmates going, so they can keep our ships moving. Alongside the Head Chef, you’ll learn all about high-pressure, high-volume cooking, as well as gaining skills in fine dining. From day one you’ll be travelling the world, using new ingredients and experiencing things you’d never encounter in a civilian apprenticeship.

If you have questions, talk to us

The role

  • Start your professional cookery career by learning how to use a variety of ingredients and styles. You’ll work under the guidance of an experienced Head Chef, creating varied menus for the entire crew.
  • Outside of the galley, you’ll 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.
  • Unlike most civilian apprenticeships, you’ll have real responsibility from the day you start, working in challenging environments all over the world. The ship’s galley is hot and hectic, so you’ll need to have a calm temperament at all times.
  • It’s your job to make the ship feel like a home from home for your crewmates. Many of them will be at sea for months at a time and will look forward to the food you cook, whether it’s Friday Fish, or dinner for a social event.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Gain a Production Chef Level 2 Apprenticeship 
  • MCA certification that is financially supported by the RFA

Skills you'll develop

  • An in-depth knowledge of high-volume, high-pressure cooking
  • The ability to manage stores and ingredients, while creating interesting menus for a ship’s company


On completion of your Apprenticeship, you may be offered a full Company Service Contract as an Assistant Cook

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 food and hospitality
  • Great at working as part of a team
  • First-class communication
  • 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 30 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.