Admiralty Interview Board

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.

Day 1

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

Day 2

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!

Recruitment Test & Sift Interview

So my first post with a bit of meaning…

How did I get here?

Starting into a career can be long and drawn out or it can be a snap decision. Joining the Royal Fleet Auxiliary for myself was definitely a snap decision. I was set on attending University after doing my A levels, which I was 2/3rds of the way through, and doing science; this would end up with me working in labs for eternity. But my first choice of University turned me down for the course I had applied for so I needed another option.

Being from Derby means that the RFA is something you never hear about and I was no different, it was only by chance I came across the Fleet’s existence on the Royal Navy website. This was back in September of 2016, just after starting Sixth Form, and something that was put to the back of my mind. Fast forward 1.5 years and a month after applying (there was a bit of a delay in processing my application) it’s time for the recruitment test.

Recruitment Test

My application was made on March 19th 2018, by the first week of April it was time to sit the first stage of what becomes a nice long journey in the end.

This test is exaclty the same as the Royal Navy and is held with RN and RM (Royal Marine) candidates at your local AFCO (Armed Forces careers office). My best advice for revising for the recruitment test at this stage is to revise GCSE level maths around topics like addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. For the mechanical comprehension it’s best to revise basic concepts like levers and moments etc. For the English and abstract reasoning (as well as the maths and mechanics) the Royal Navy Test guide and the Royal Navy website are fantastic. There are recommended time limits for both resources, USE THEM!

You won’t be given your results at the AFCO because they are sent straight to RFA HQ for them to process, the Navy just facilitate the test. I rang up for my results because the guy at the AFCO had no idea of time span, you may get sent a letter.

Personally looking back on the RT it was relatively easy but leading up to it I was terrified and when I rang up to get my result I was very relieved when they said I had passed!

Sift Interview

All the information I had for this pointed to a meeting at Portsmouth, don’t be shocked if Manchester suddenly pops up like it did for me, the interview is exactly the same (and it’s slightly easier because you don’t need to mess around at the gates to go to the Manchester AFCO, as there aren’t any unlike Portsmouth).

Leading up to the Sift I did as much research in the following areas:

  • Ship classes of the RFA
  • Names of RFA ships
  • Current locations of all RFA ships (twitter is useful)
  • What the role of the currently deployed/working RFA ships is
  • Recognising classes of ship
  • Brief history of the RFA
  • Who’s the current Commodore RFA
  • Rank Structure of the RFA
  • Jobs of your role, ie Marine Engineering Officer jobs when on ship
  • Pipeline of training including what’s after interview, what’s after AIB and what’s going to happen at nautical college including which ones you may attend

Some places on twitter to go are, @RFAheadquarters @CdreDuncanLamb @RfaNostaglia @sandpilot @thinkdefence @navylookout @pinstripedline and all of the growing number of RFA ships on Twitter (appearing only over the last 2 months!!) Keep a look out for RFA employees interacting with posts too.

Contradictory to most people, Wikipedia is very useful for all of this with the breakdown of the classes and the good quality images of the ship. The RFA briefs on the RN website are helpful for job roles and brief overviews of training pipelines.

Thankfully the RFA will reimburse expenditures for travel, although as it would happen the journey to Manchester was not only short but cheap compared to Portsmouth. The attire for the interview, as you’d expect, is full suit and tie; the same as the Recruitment Test.

Upon arriving at the Manchester AFCO I was greeted by someone from the Army who checked my identity and then called the RFA recruitment Officer through from the back. You need a passport for entry into the RFA, if you can get it before the Sift it’ll save time and postage later. The Officer arrived and called me through into a small interview room.

Then the questions started. Normal interview questions and some stuff specifically about the RFA. It’s not good enough knowing the deployments but also why they’re happening. You also don’t need to know much about crew sizes and nothing on the propulsion plants etc. When the interview is over it’s your turn to ask questions, think of some before you go, maybe even some that ask about future parts of the recruitment process or training. Then you’re left for 20 minutes while the decision is made. Once that’s decided, if you’ve passed, you’ll sort out the AIB date there and then, it’s then just a case of getting home!

Next will be some stuff about the AIB, it’s changed recently, but until then thanks for reading!

*Image is crown copyright*

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! This post will be before anything specific to the Cadetship is posted (because the WordPress gods say so). Posts about the recruitment process will be posted in due course.

To get to this point of being 16 days from Dartmouth is only 5 months, quite short compared to some people, of hard work and determination passing the Recruitment Test, Sift Interview and Admiralty Interview board around completing my A levels.

I’ll provide more details in the coming weeks about all of that.