What could you do as a Reservist?

If you have civilian qualifications and experience, you could start in a role that suits your skills. If you don't have any specialist experience, you’ll begin your Reservist journey in the General Warfare branch, where you’ll be at the heart of every operation.

Your role could include:

  • Serving on Royal Naval warships in foreign waters
  • Giving vital logistical support to crews of ships
  • Sending detailed signal information to submarines
  • Supplying safety information to merchant ships

Reservists, like regular personnel, can join as officers or ratings, depending on qualifications. You could be taking the lead on some vital operations, or providing the extra manpower we need all over the world.

Becoming a Reservist

If you have specialist qualifications or experience in Medical, Cyber or Chaplaincy roles, you can apply for a specific role that harnesses your expertise and knowledge. Otherwise, you’ll join as an officer or a rating in the General Warfare branch, or Engineering branch if you have an appropriate engineering background. Take a look at what each role involves.


Push your boundaries and learn things you never imagined. You don’t need any military experience to become a rating in the Royal Naval Reserve. Once you’ve joined, we’ll teach you all you need to know, from working in a buzzing Ops Room to analysing data for your commanding officer.

The work you'll do includes:

  • Working on the Bridge and operating the ship's boats
  • Seamanship evolutions – this could be anything from watchkeeping to operating deck equipment
  • Securing and protecting your ship when it’s in harbour


Be part of the Royal Navy’s management team, leading the teams that make a difference every day on global operations. You’ll get to use the skills and qualifications you already have, while gaining new ones. 

The work you'll do includes:

  • Acting as tactical fisheries officers
  • Boarding ships when required
  • Supporting your ships' command, both in port and at sea

Shape your Reservist career

After five years, you’ll be able to specialise in an area that suits you, whether you feel at home at sea in the Ops Room, or at shore in a supporting role.

Have you got the skills we need?

If you already have a degree in certain specialist fields, you could go straight into a specific role or ‘specialisation’. Take a look at the options available, from cyber to medical, and see how your skills could make a real difference.


Chaplaincy in the Royal Naval Service is a long way removed from civilian life. For a start you’ll have the opportunity to travel the world providing support to around 30,000 highly trained individuals. The unique challenges faced by them and their families make your job all the more vital.


The Medical branch is medicine’s frontline. You’ll push yourself further, providing specialist care in NHS hospitals, at sea, or in a field hospital. This is your opportunity to care for the people who protect our nation’s interests, being deployed to where you’re needed most and using your existing skills.


From WikiLeaks to the Panama Papers, the landscape of modern warfare has changed dramatically. Cyber security is a ground-breaking area at the vanguard of our nation’s defence. Serving in the Reserve Cyber Unit makes you part of one of the most advanced areas of the Royal Navy.