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Cadet Systems Engineer (ETO) (RFA)
Job Role

Cadet Systems Engineer (ETO) (RFA)

Learn all there is to know about the complex electronic and communication systems on board our most advanced ships.

  • GCSEs
  • Royal Fleet Auxiliary
  • Engineering
  • Officer level

At a glance

Our ships deliver vital logistical and operational support, all over the world. And the systems that power those ships? This role puts you in charge of maintaining them. From electrical switchgear one day, to communication and distribution systems the next.
For me the transition from a job at home to a job at sea was relatively easy. I love the fact that I’m part of a close-knit team, keeping this ship going.


Cadet Systems Engineer Officer

Role details

What you’ll do

As a Cadet Systems Engineer Officer in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), you’ll learn all there is to know about the complex electronic and communication systems on board, and become a key player in our operations. Once you’ve qualified, you’ll cover all areas of the ship, leading a team of technicians, and taking responsibility for the complex equipment that we rely on every day.

Your role

  • Learn to work on everything from navigational aids, electronic and communication equipment, to PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) control and automation systems.
  • Interact with with experts from the marine engineering, deck and logistics departments, exploring the different disciplines and developing skills that will stay with you throughout your career.
  • Become a first-class electrical/electronic engineer and eventually act as mentor to the junior members of your team, providing advice and guidance as they tackle new challenges.
  • Gain the skills you need to become a navigation and communications systems expert, and make a crucial contribution to our Replenishment at Sea operations.

Pay & benefits

  • £17,500+ starting salary during training
  • Earned Voyage Leave (EVL) of 7 days for every month spent on board ship
  • Membership of a Civil Service Pension scheme 
  • World-class training
  • Potential to travel the world

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • A streamlined path to becoming a Chartered Engineer
  • MCA certification that is fully supported by the RFA

Skills you'll develop

  • An in-depth knowledge of Navy-specific engineering principles and MCA
  • The ability to lead and manage a highly skilled team



  • Aged at least 17 years 6 months to apply, and 18 years to commence employment. There is no upper age limit
  • 5 x GCSEs including Mathematics, English Language and either Physics or Chemistry or Dual Science at GRADE 4/c OR 9-4 Scottish equivalent
  • To be considered for a Foundation degree option A Levels or Scottish Advanced Higher qualifications are required but must include a numerate subject such as Mathematics
  • 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

Skills & interests

  • Great leadership potential
  • A technical approach to solving problems
  • First-class communication
  • A sense of adventure

Joining process

From picking your role to starting on your first day, these are the steps you'll take to join as a rating.

Got a question?

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