Apprentice Engineering Technician (RFA)

Service:Royal Fleet Auxiliary

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

Without the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), the Royal Navy wouldn’t be the force it is. Without its engineers, the RFA wouldn’t be able to provide the operational and logistical support it does. As an Apprentice Engineering Technician, you’ll be doing the essential work that keeps our ships moving. For you, ordinary doesn’t exist. Even the most routine work is challenging and exciting, as you embark on a career that will see you become a world-class engineer. 

If you have questions, talk to us

The role

  • Travel the world as part of a professional engineering team. You could be maintaining your ship’s complex electrical and mechanical equipment one day, or taking part in complex RAS evolutions the next.
  • Your role in keeping the ship operational involves ships husbandry, waste management, directed planned maintenance and watchkeeping duties.
  • Use your enthusiasm for electrical and mechanical engineering to gain a thorough knowledge of both disciplines, learning from the experienced engineers who will act as your mentors.
  • Gain hands-on experience operating and assisting with maintenance on sophisticated electrical and mechanical equipment. From the hull and propulsion systems, to auxiliary and hotel sevices.
  • When you're not in the Engine Room, you'll have crucial duties to perform as part of the ship's company, including firefighting, first aid, weapons maintenance and being a member of the damage control team.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Maritime Mechanical and Electrical Mechanic, Level 2 Diploma, issued by the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education
  • Incorporated Functional Skills in Maths, English and ICT
  • Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) Mandatory Seafarer Qualifications (STCWs)
  • Merchant Navy Engine Rating Watchkeeping Certificate of Competency

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn to maintain and repair a wide range of electronic and mechanical systems
  • Become confident working with the most cutting-edge equipment


Career progression

On completion of your Apprenticeship, you may be offered a full Company Service Contract as a Motorman Grade 1. 

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 the latest technology
  • Great at working as part of a team
  • A common sense approach to solving mechanical problems
  • 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. Prepare by doing our practice test
  • 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 Sultan, HMS Raleigh, or HMS Collingwood, depending on your apprenticeship where you will begin your initial training
  • 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. Your training as an Apprentice Engineering Technician will start at HMS Sultan and last 33 weeks. After this, you’ll complete your first trip as an apprentice.

Your second trip will typically be your last as an apprentice before qualifying as a Motorman 1.