Career progression

The rank of cadet is the lowest rank and officer in the Defence Forces can hold. On completion of cadetship training you are immediately promoted. This is your starting point within the officer rank structure of the Defence Forces. We have asked a few of our current Naval Service cadets how they feel about career progression within the service.

Cadet Sarah Ledwith
Officer Training School, Naval College

What did you do before starting your Officer Cadetship?

I had just graduated with a Double Honours International Degree in Spanish and German.

Why did you join the Navy?

I had been in the Army Reserve for almost seven years and had just completed my standards course. I knew at this stage that I wanted a career in the Defence Forces but I also wanted to be able to use my degree. I felt that this would happen in the Naval Service, as there is general involvement with International vessels on a day-to-day basis while at sea. 

Why did you join as an Officer Cadet?

I wanted the opportunity to train as a navigation officer but also to train with the gunnery, communication, fishery and boarding aspects of the Service.

What are your plans for the future?

Plans for the future include; getting commissioned in eight months, completing my Nautical Science Degree and qualifying as an Officer of the Watch.

Where do you see yourself in 10 Years?

In 10 years I would hope to be a Lieutenant in the NS with the aim of taking on the role of Executive Officer on one of the Naval Service’s ships.

What part of your training did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed my Sea Term as a Junior Cadet the most to date. It was a huge eye opener for me. I got to put into practise all the theory and short courses we had completed in our second term. I learnt how to control and drive the Ships RHIBS, practice chart work on the bridge, be part of boarding parties on fishing vessels and observe the ships gunnery shoots. The best part was also working with the Coastguard Helicopter and getting winched up onto it from the ships Heli-Deck.

What preparation did you do for the Officer Cadet Application process?

I looked out for when the Cadetship Competition opened, went online and filled in all my details there. I received an email to confirm I was approved to go through and attended the Psychometric testing stage in the RDS. I practiced with a psychometric book to prepare and would recommend future candidates to do the same, as it is a stage many fall down in. I then was asked to come down to the Naval Base in Cork to complete further stages, these included, a medical, fitness test, group assessment and an interview. I started to train well in advance for the Fitness test.

What is the Physical Training like?

Initially everyone had the basic requirements to pass the fitness test but we were all at different levels above this requirement. Our instructors then started us out on an even level with each week pushing us more, it involved a short workout each morning before breakfast and then a long run; circuit training, speed or hill work in the afternoon. By April we completed the Great Island 10 mile for cancer research. We maintained our training at sea and got in long runs in preparation for the Dublin Marathon. We ran the Cork to Cobh 15 miler in Sept and completed the Marathon in Oct for Make a Wish Foundation. I also became involved with the Basketball and Camogie teams over the year.

What is the Military Training Like?

Having been in the Reserve, I was prepared for the Military Aspects such as learning to march, taking orders, shooting and looking after uniforms. But in the Reserve this is just for a week or two in the summer so it was different to realise that this was now an everyday occurrence.  

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