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  • RFA or commercial

    Has anyone got any advice about going down the RFA route or commercial company route as a deck cadet? Getting to a point where I'm going to have to make a decision quite soon as I am waiting to hear back from a company with an offer for Sept ( Hopefully..I was offered a place for Jan but had to defer)
    I know the RFA pays significantly better than most companies, but with the current cuts to the armed forces, job prospects could be somewhat limited by the time I would graduate. A sponsorship with a commercial company would pay less, but would give a broader range of experiences with different types of shipping, giving me a broader job horizon and I would be able to make important contacts for employment. Any thoughts/comments would be hugely appreciated.

  • #2
    It very much depends on which company you end up with, not all offer as broad a range of ships as the RFA and not all guarantee employment after the cadetship.

    The future may not be certain with the RFA, but it is probably even less certain in the commercial world.
    Go out, do stuff

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    • #3
      Ahhhh you'll start a war with questions like that :P

      The RFA do pay good, but you can make some ridiculous money in the commercial sector in the offshore industry or specialised cable laying ships etc so if money is the main drive.....

      I applied tot he RFA originally as I liked the idea of the military side of things but in a civil role, however I've ended up working on box boats and i'm glad this is where i've ended up.

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      • #4
        Very few commercial employers take their own cadets on after qualifying (who are you waiting to hear on an offer from?). The RFA has consistently kept most of its cadets on as officers. The RFA has made no-one redundant since the mid-1990s.

        Ex-RFA officers rarely have great difficulty finding employment in the commercial world.

        I would not necessarily recommend seeking a career in the RFA to a qualified officer, but it still offers the best cadetship.

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        • #5
          One of my friends is in the RFA he absolutely loves the job the only problem is he seems to be alongside a lot and hasn't actually seen a deployment yet which he is a bit gutted about. The pay is very good ! 27k + a 3k tax free bonus !

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JonathanI View Post
            One of my friends is in the RFA he absolutely loves the job the only problem is he seems to be alongside a lot and hasn't actually seen a deployment yet which he is a bit gutted about. The pay is very good ! 27k + a 3k tax free bonus !
            Some confusion I think Jonathan.

            There is no "3k tax free bonus". There is a ?3072/pa "RFA Allowance" which is not a bonus, and is taxable. It is just an element of the wages that is listed separately for historic reasons relating to a change in the RFA pay system in the late 1990s.

            It would be much less confusing if the RFA just advertised starting salary for a third mate as what it is: ?30,117 including all permanent allowances (but excluding any temporary allowances or performance related elements of pay (bonuses)).

            Bad luck being stuck in the UK. Most of the active flotilla is overseas at present (though that doesn't preclude spending lots of time alongside).

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            • #7
              I'm surprised at that figure, thought RFA would have been paying more.

              Do you also get the sponsored reserve training bounty?
              Go out, do stuff

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              • #8
                Jag, cuts happen in all organisations, not just the Armed Forces. During the recent recession several big name companies, most noteably Maersk, made large numbers of people redundant.

                All the evidence from the Government and the Defence Select Committee suggests that the UK - regardless of which party is in Government - will keep a substantial expeditionary capability. The RFA is a key part of that capability, indeed it is the RFA that gives the UK a global military reach second only to the USA.

                In summary, don't worry about whether you'll be employed 10 years down the line. Go for the company you want to work for.

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                • #9
                  Don't worry about cuts etc, the RFA needs people. If you think you want the military side then go for it. Good luck!
                  'Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans'

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Blondie View Post
                    Don't worry about cuts etc, the RFA needs people. If you think you want the military side then go for it. Good luck!
                    I think it is a legitimate question about cuts - the size and make-up of the RFA will reflect the future RN surface fleet, which some would say is not the most rosy picture at the moment.

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                    • #11
                      Maersk, Carnival, Princess and a good few others are taking on the cadets as officers, so to say the RFA is your best chance of a job is unfair. Likewise, most offshore companies are paying much the same rates for junior officers as mentioned above with Mearsk line pay the same but without the the "bonus/bounty". Everyone will generally say what they do is best...... I would recommend my company because it's what I enjoy doing and I could list a good few benefits of working for them over the RFA and make the job sound ridiculously glamorous, but it'd be pointless and start another "my dad's bigger than your dad" debate. Only you can make up your mind what you want to do.

                      I agree that the RFA will be around for a long time, despite the rumours they were looking to outsource to private companies ( I know Maersk already do a fair bit of work for the MOD as I was on one of the boats who were put in for some top secret work) I don't see this ever happening. My contraversial advice is to avoid companies like Clyde who generally work with companies who don't employ cadets (I know some do so no need to pounce, but in general.....)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Clanky View Post
                        I'm surprised at that figure, thought RFA would have been paying more.
                        So do most of the RFA, hence why we are massively short of certificated officers. 3 ships out of 13 are out of action because of it. It doesn't include the ?1200 "Performance Award" because at the time of writing I couldn't remember how much it is, and it isn't necessarily going to be part of next year's pay. "Performance" criteria in this context being "not currently subject to disciplinary action". It's another fudge they used to slightly increase the salary a few years ago when the Treasury forbade an increase in basic pay. Civil servant bonuses!

                        Do you also get the sponsored reserve training bounty?
                        No, because we don't get any training as Sponsored Reservists. There is a "sponsored reserve allowance" of ?300pa that they used as a sweetener when SR was first introduced to the RFA. I included that in the basic salary since all new entrants have to sign up to SR anyway.

                        I also didn't include Far East Station Allowance, Home Fleet Allowance, South Atlantic Repetition of Tour Allowance, Extended Tour Allowance, Significant Operational Tasking Allowance, Uniform Upkeep Allowance, etc.

                        At present 3/O salary increases by about ?1,000 per year up to 7 years, and increases again for higher certificates, but this system is under review as government policy is against incremental salary scales for civil servants.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Martyboy View Post
                          I could list a good few benefits of working for them over the RFA and make the job sound ridiculously glamorous
                          Go on. Why not give me a few reasons to jump ship?

                          ( I know Maersk already do a fair bit of work for the MOD as I was on one of the boats who were put in for some top secret work)
                          Not TS any more is it! Was this something other than Maersk Rapier freighting fuel for DFG?

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                          • #14
                            What's the point? All you do is tell me i'm wrong and the RFA is much better so I wont waste my time. And yes, was something completely different from the Rapier

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Martyboy View Post
                              What's the point? All you do is tell me i'm wrong and the RFA is much better so I wont waste my time.
                              Mmm... no. Seriously, I'd like to know the benefits of working for Maersk.

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