Junior ratings celebrating passing out at HMS Raleigh DATE UNKNOWN used on 241120 CREDIT Royal Navy
Navy

Interest In Joining Royal Navy 'Surges' During Pandemic

The increase has prompted a third naval base to begin training civilians into sailors.

Junior ratings celebrating passing out at HMS Raleigh DATE UNKNOWN used on 241120 CREDIT Royal Navy

Interest in joining the Royal Navy has 'surged' during the coronavirus pandemic, the Navy has said.

Applications to join the Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary are up by about a third on last year.

Figures went up by 34% for officers and 28% for those wanting to become ratings or join the ranks of the commandos.

Captain Pete Viney, head of recruiting for the Royal Navy, said: "We’ve clearly seen an increase in interest in people wanting to join the Royal Navy – and that’s across the board: the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

"A 30% rise in applications is really healthy."

To meet the growing demand, the Royal Navy has prompted a third naval base to begin training civilians into sailors.

From January, an additional 500 recruits will complete their initial naval training package at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, Hampshire.

The centre is the Royal Navy’s Warfare and Weapon engineering school and its largest training establishment.

Officer Cadets are put through their paces by a physical trainer at Dartmouth DATE UNKNOWN used on 241120 CREDIT Royal Navy.jpg
A library image of Officer Cadets being put through their paces by a physical trainer at Dartmouth (Picture: Royal Navy).

This is in addition to Britannia Royal Naval College, the spiritual home of the Officer Corps in Dartmouth, Devon, which has just taken on a second intake of junior ratings on the 10-week initial course.

The training is traditionally performed at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint.

However, despite the Cornish centre increasing its capacity and taking on an extra 330 recruits, more is still needed.

HMS Raleigh is expected to produce more than 3,000 new sailors over the next 12 months. 

Further intakes are also planned to go to Dartmouth.

Over the past 12 months, nearly 6,000 people have applied to become officers across the Navy, with one in nine aiming to become an F-35 or helicopter pilot.

Applications to become a rating or join the Marines ranks rose from 14,757 to 18,872, the Navy said.

Royal Navy training has continued throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and the service is continuing to perform its tasks and assist in the Government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

First Sea Lord Admiral  Tony Radakin inspects ratings passing out alongside officers at Dartmouth for first time 130820 CREDIT BFBS
Ratings passed out alongside officers at Dartmouth for the first time in August.

"We’ve not stopped for a single moment – we have continued to provide the Navy with the people it needs to do its job both today and tomorrow," said Capt Viney.

"COVID has had a marginal impact on some training availability, but in good naval fashion, we’ve adapted.

"In fact, the pandemic has also allowed us to break free from the way we’ve done things for decades, to better use technology, to do things differently to meet the realities of the 21st century."

It is believed the relative security of a military career amid uncertain times, apprenticeship schemes and a recent advertising campaign targeting the Submarine Service have all helped boost interest in the Navy.

Due to the pandemic, the Admiralty Interview Board, which determines if applicants have the right qualities to become naval officers, is now delivered virtually.

Cover image: A library image of junior ratings celebrating passing out at HMS Raleigh (Picture: Royal Navy).