The first interaction with the Royal Navy (RN) starts here, and some in the RN and the public might be surprised the RFA attends AIB but we definitely do!
Before now everything has been handled in house by the RFA pretty much and this is the first time you get a taste of how the RN operates. Nearly every aspect of the AIB is RN’ified and its usually undertaken with mainly Royal Navy and Royal Marine (RM) officer candidates, with a few members of the RFA present. My experience was of a syndicate of three, usually these are syndicates of 4 however one had dropped out at the last minute.
My AIB had the three RFA ME Cadets, One medical officer candidate, one RTO flight, one warfare officer and 5 RM officer candidates.
This begins at 1100 with your arrival at HMS Sultan and if your taxi driver doesn’t have his ID a half mile walk to the compound; its left at the gate and straight down, keep going as you probably haven’t gone too far. Myself having thought I was lost, when I was actually on the right track, asked a Lieutenant for directions him it turns out also being from Derby; 250 miles away from home and the first person I speak to is from about 10 miles from my house.
Once you have signed in and received your shoes and boiler suit its time for you to go and do the 2.4km run just around 1200… It’s not nice when its 30 degrees in direct sunlight. Enjoy lunch after that and then its into the practice for the following day. Throughout the afternoon you will go over a practice planning exercise (PlanEx) and practice the skills required for the Practical Leadership Tasks (PLTs) over in the AIB hangar
Once all of this is over you’ll get the chance to relax before the next day. This time can also be spent wisely doing some practice and getting to know your fellow members of the syndicate as good team cohesion helps you all to succeed
This is it, Judgement day.
Throughout the day you’ll do the PLTs over in the hangar and you’ll do the PlanEx along with the psychometric tests and the interview.
The PLTs are one leaderless task for the group and one led task per person, you’ll get time to look over your scenario and plan it before you lead the task. The PlanEX involves reading over the scenario before making your own plan, then you go and receive questioning where a member of the board staff will try and get information from you, give you some more and possibly even try and trip you up. Then you go away and type up your aims and your plan. This is then followed by a presentation of your plan to the board members.
The psychometric tests are done in round robin with the interviews. The interview is very similar to the sift you have before AIB, be prepared for a few new questions and especially for the RFA, the board members will ask a lot of basic questions and won’t always have an expert level of knowledge on exact things within the RFA. It’s also not uncommon for a member of RFA recruitment to sit on the board, that’s where your challenge gets harder!
After all of this the board will then make their decision. The most important thing to remember is once an evolution is complete, forget about it as nothing can be done and it’s over. They’re also not looking for the finished article so if you make a mistake try not to let it bother you, worst comes to worst, you have to go again.
Next time it’s off to BRNC!