Motorman Grade 1 (RFA)

Service:Royal Fleet Auxiliary

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

As a Motorman Grade 1 (RFA), you’ll perform the duties of a highly-trained Engineer Rating, monitoring and maintaining vital equipment so that our fleet can do its job. And it’s no ordinary job. The ships you’ll work on provide vital support to the Royal Navy all over the world. No other merchant navy role comes with this much responsibility. You’ll be working with advanced mechanical and electronic systems every day, developing your skills as you go. And as you maintain and repair everything from the air conditioning to the engine, you’ll be ensuring that your vessel, and the Royal Navy, runs smoothly.

If you have questions, talk to us

The role

  • Travel the world as part of a professional engineering team. You could be maintaining your ship’s complex electrical and mechanical equipment one day, and ensuring cranes, lifts and other deck gear are in top condition the next.
  • Become a key part of the Engineering team, working with experienced engineers to develop your skills, while offering advice and guidance to more junior personnel.
  • Gain hands-on experience using our most sophisticated electrical systems and largest-scale mechanical kit. From the hull and propulsion systems, to navigation and communications equipment.
  • When you’re not getting your hands on our kit, you’ll have crucial duties to perform as part of the ship’s company, including firefighting, first aid, and being a member of the damage control team.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Gain an NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Engineering
  • MCA certification that is financially supported by the RFA

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn to maintain and repair a wide range of electronic and mechanical systems
  • Become confident working with the most cutting-edge equipment


Career progression

If offered a Company Service Contract you will start your career as a Motorman 1 (MM1). Following completion of any essential RFA courses, you will then be appointed to a ship. At sea as a Motorman, you will immediately put all the skills and experience you’ve gained, into practice. With some experience and further training you could be promoted to Leading Hand. After that, you may go on to become a Petty Officer and then Chief Petty Officer. To qualify for promotion, your skills and qualifications will be assessed on a merit basis, so if you work hard and show potential, you can quickly rise through the ranks. If you demonstrate the right competences, commitment, skills and academic ability, you may also be offered the opportunity to apply to train as an Officer via the RFA’s Officer Training Scheme.

What you'll need


  • You’ll need to be aged 16, there's no upper age limit
  • ENG1 medical certificate, unrestricted for worldwide sea service
  • A STCW 95 Reg 111/4 Engine Room Watch Rating certificate
  • A level 2 qualification in Engineering, or equivalent
  • Proof of recent sea experience aboard a Merchant Navy vessel, with at least 6 months of the last 36 months in the Engineering branch
  • Applicants 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
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test
  • Four elements of basic training, updated iaw Manila Convention 2010
    • Personal Survival Techniques (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-1)
    • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-2)
    • Elementary First Aid (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-3)
    • Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-4)

Skills and interests

  • An ability to multi-task and keep cool under pressure
  • Great when working as part of a team
  • A common sense approach to solving mechanical problems
  • A sense of adventure
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

  • Apply – Fill in an online application form
  • Eligibility – We will request copies of certification to ascertain your suitability for the role
  • Sift – Your application will go forward for sift by a Subject Matter Expert (SME) who will check that you have the knowledge and potential to succeed in your chosen role
  • Psychometric test – You will be asked to attend an Armed Forces Careers Office close to your home where you will conduct a psychometric test. Prepare by using our practice test
  • Interview – Once you’ve made it through the sifting process, you will be invited to attend an interview, where we will ascertain your suitability for life in the RFA. See how you can prepare here
  • Training – If successful, you will be offered a place at HMS Phoenix where you will begin your initial training

Initial training

You will be required to attend the RN Firefighting Course, at HMS Pheonix.

There's also a swimming test, so if you can't swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.