Apprentice Communications Information Systems

Service:Royal Fleet Auxiliary

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

As an Apprentice Communications Information Systems, it’s your job to guarantee the transmission and receipt of messages that are pivotal to our Replenishment at Sea operations. It’s a civilian role, but one that contributes to protecting our nation’s interests. From the moment you join you’ll gain hands-on experience with some of our most sophisticated equipment, learning how to use everything from message handling systems to satellite links, and embarking on a truly exhilarating career.

If you have questions, talk to us

The role

  • Take your place within a professional ship’s company, working alongside senior officers from all branches to transmit and receive crucial information. You might be requesting essential supplies one day, and giving Royal Navy ships your estimated time of arrival the next
  • Use complex equipment to help the ship perform its essential role. That means working with everything from high-speed data, to the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS)
  • Outside of the Ops Room, 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

What you’ll get

Skills for life

  • An in-depth knowledge of state-of-the-art communications systems
  • Reliability and accuracy when transmitting vital messages


Career progression

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

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
  • Entry requirements GCSE Maths and English Language at Grade 4/C or above (or equivalent)
  • 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 the latest technology
  • 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 – 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 HMS Collingwood
  • 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 17 weeks training at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, including your MCA basic safety training, before embarking on your first phase of sea training. After this, you take leave, then return to HMS Collingwood for a further 16 weeks then your second sea phase.