Qualified Communications and Information Systems (RFA)

Service:Royal Fleet Auxiliary
CIS working on a ship

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) delivers vital logistical and operational support to the Royal Navy, wherever they are in the world. As a Qualified Communications and Information Systems you will be part of a team that ensures that the ship is able to communicate internally and externally, in all situations under pressure; administering complex data processing networks as well as commercial and military integrated communications system and visual signalling procedures. 

If you have questions, talk to us

The role

  • Use your skills gained in your previous career to play a central role in supporting the Royal Navy warships, all over the world
  • You will be required to manage the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) on board to ensure that the ship always remains ready to respond to an emergency
  • Operate sophisticated global networked information systems, so you’re always able to receive communications that are crucial to the day-to-day operation of the ship
  • Provide the command with a vital link to the task group via tactical voice and visual signalling procedures during replenishments and tactical evolutions
  • Work with your team to take responsibility for the ship’s complex data-processing network systems, including the internet and satellite, placing you at the heart of tactical and strategic communications

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Skills you'll develop

  • Further your knowledge and skills working on state-of-the-art CIS sytems for the RFA

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
  • Current Unrestricted ENG1 for Worldwide Sea Service
  • D299 IS Network Administrator or commercial equivalent
  • DII ASM or Minerva 
  • Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) GOC
  • Experience using Message Handling Systems
  • Experience using Military Integrated Communications Systems
  • GCSEs graded C/4 including Maths and English Language
  • 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

  • Experienced CIS personnel with military communications skills who can work on their own and as part of a team
  • Personnel with drive, enthusiasm and an ambition to succeed
  • Reliability and discretion are essential
  • Experience in tactical procedures is desirable but not essential as training will be given
Check Eligibility

Joining process and career progression

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve requested your application and provided us with some basic information, you’ll receive a link to the online application form

  • Confirm eligibility

    You will be asked to send us copies of your certification

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

    If you’re eligible you’ll be invited to take the DAA. You’ll be tested on: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension and Mechanical Comprehension.
    Pass and you’ll sit an interview, which is normally conducted using your own device over the Shine video platform.
    To prepare, you can practise the DAA

  • Interview

    If you are successful at interview, you will be offered a contract

Career progression

At sea as a CIS Rating, you will immediately put all the skills and experience you’ve gained into practice. With some experience and further training, you could be promoted to Leading Hand. After that, you may go on to become a Petty Offer and then Chief Petty Offer. To qualify for promotion, your skills and qualifications will be assessed on a merit basis in line with the career framework for your specialisation.

If you work hard and show potential, you could quickly rise through the ranks. If you demonstrate the right competences, commitment, skills and academic ability, you may also be offered the opportunity to apply to train as an Officer via the RFA’s Rating to Officer (RTO) Training Scheme.