Qualified Engineering Technician (RFA)

Service:Royal Fleet Auxiliary

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

As a Qualified Engineering Technician, you’ll perform the duties of a highly-trained Engineer Rating, monitoring and maintaining vital equipment. This is a role that requires real technical ability and is key to ensuring we can provide vital logistical and operational support to the Royal Navy, all over the world. This is like no other merchant navy job. It’s an extremely challenging position in an organisation that’s integral to protecting our nation’s interests.

The mechanical and electrical systems you work with every day are essential to the operational capacity of the ship, from the ship's hotel services and air conditioning that makes life comfortable on board to the essential operational equipment that delivers task group capability. You’re a key part of the engineering team that keeps our vessels running smoothly. In return for your efforts, you’ll get world-class training and the chance to gain fully funded qualifications.

If you have questions, talk to us

The role

  • Travel the world, experiencing a wide range of new environments.
  • Play a part in diverse operations, from assisting Royal Marines, to disaster relief.
  • Work with a variety of complex engineering systems, across all the different vessels in our fleet, from tackling operational equipment, auxiliary systems and fixed firefighting installations, and everything in between.
  • This is the perfect role for people seeking both personal development and a progressive career at the highest level of the engineering industry.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Training will be a constant feature of your time in the RFA, with the opportunity for you to gain the qualifications that will leave you well placed for career progression
  • All relevant courses and qualifications will be paid for by us

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn a variety of hands-on engineering skills
  • Build on your previous experience and qualifications
  • Alongside your specialist engineering training, you will be taught to take your place in the ship’s emergency team, where you will carry out specific RFA roles, such as firefighting and damage control


Career progression

If offered a position with the RFA you will start your career at a level appropriate to your previous skills and experience. Following completion of any essential RFA courses, you will then be appointed to a ship. At sea with the RFA, 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 become a Petty Officer and then Chief Petty Officer.

To qualify for promotion, your skills and qualifications will be assessed on a merit basis, so if you work hard and show potential, you can maximise your opportunities for progression. 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 Officer Training Scheme.

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
  • A Level 2 qualification in Engineering, or equivalent (e.g. NVQ, BTEC or GCSE)
  • Previous experience of leading and managing teams of engineering personnel
  • Seagoing experience of marine engineering, mechanical or electrical maintenance, fault diagnosis and repair procedures
  • 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

  • High capability in engineering
  • An ability to multi-task and keep cool under pressure
  • An adventurous spirit
  • We’re looking for someone who will enjoy working on diverse and complex equipment, on ships all over the world
  • Different operations offer unique working environments and we need someone who will get stuck into every task with the determination to find a solution, whatever the problem
  • It is essential you have good teamwork skills, as you will need to collaborate with the rest of the engineering team, and the wider ship’s company
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 for your induction to the RFA as a Qualified Engineering Technician
  • 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 33 weeks training at HMS Sultan in Gosport, 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.