Ex Sappers in Construction

#1
Hello,

Just starting a thread for ex sappers who are now working in civilian construction like myself.

It would be a good idea if we could develope a social network to help each other out ie. guys just leaveing the corps, blokes out of work, blokes unhappy with thier current job and blokes who are self employed and want to pick up work.

I currently work as a site engineer in the midlands, i'm happy at the moment but had a few bad experiences upon leaveing.

Just introduce yourself and what you're doing or what you need.

Sunshineboy
 
#3
left the Corps December 06, currently working in an office would love to get into construction but havent got a clue about where to go etc, im defo something more than a labourer, any tips? ideas? currently living in Brum
 
#4
spitlock said:
left the Corps December 06, currently working in an office would love to get into construction but havent got a clue about where to go etc, im defo something more than a labourer, any tips? ideas? currently living in Brum
Hello Spitlock,

Labourer is the first step on the ladder, a bit like the rank "sapper" on the Corp. Its a good starting point and can be decent money, from their you could start trade training at night or go on a course to get a ticket to drive plant. I wouldn't start too far up the ladder because you can have bad experiences and it put you off for life.
 
#5
Having left the corp 13 years ago and pissed about changing jobs every other 6 months I've found construction the best paid and most enjoyable work out of all the jobs I've had, most of the lads have almost got a squaddie sense of houmour ,like going on the pish and can take the rough with the smooth. The chances of getting on as a career are good keep your gob shut your ears open listen to the guys, they have a great deal of skills and tricks of the trade, dont be put off by apperiances even the fat old cutn is there for a reason ...his skills.
 
#6
I left the corp 2 year ago,and found employment as a bricklayer in northern ireland, i had many rejections at the start when looking for work, because most employers where looking for experienced brickies, and when they ask what experience you have , well like me i did my basic bricklaying 92/94 then nothing till my advanced course in 97 and then nothing till i found someone that was willing to give me chance, i am now currently still employed as a bricklayer/any job that needs done, with my second employer and i am enjoying the work i do although not every day involves laying bricks, but im learning new skills every day.

Handy being an ex engineer, you can turn your hand to anything.
 
#7
I did an apprenticeship with a local company when i was 18, did 2 years in London with said company and i am still welcomed back for work every noe and again. Great life experiance, great crack with the lads, and a hell of a lot of knowledge out there.

Like any decent walk of life, the slackers don't last very long and you tend to get a dedicated work force. I loved doing it, would reccomend it to anyone.


Everyone bloody honks though!
 
#8
But why be an ex-Sapper in Construction?

Follow the link to become Yet-a-Sapper in Construction. Continue the crack, network (in the non-IT sense) and potentially improve your civvy career prospects.

http://www.army.mod.uk/royalengineers/org/mwfv/index.htm

There's also the opportunity to go on courses to further improve your civvy career prospects.

Having seized the opportunity, now I'll shut up.
 
#9
Sunshineboy said:
spitlock said:
left the Corps December 06, currently working in an office would love to get into construction but havent got a clue about where to go etc, im defo something more than a labourer, any tips? ideas? currently living in Brum
Hello Spitlock,

Labourer is the first step on the ladder, a bit like the rank "sapper" on the Corp. Its a good starting point and can be decent money, from their you could start trade training at night or go on a course to get a ticket to drive plant. I wouldn't start too far up the ladder because you can have bad experiences and it put you off for life.
noted thanks for the advice. When I first got out I rang up loads of builders and asked about work saying I had a NVQ in general construction (Knew the B1 would come in handy for something) NVQ in welding, worked on constructions sites around the world, got own vehicle and can travel etc, everyone I spoke to was really helpful, but as a labourer only got offered 40quid a day, im not expecting thousands, but thats hardly enough to tie the loose ends! any more tips and is 40quid a day about right?
 
#10
spitlock said:
Sunshineboy said:
spitlock said:
left the Corps December 06, currently working in an office would love to get into construction but havent got a clue about where to go etc, im defo something more than a labourer, any tips? ideas? currently living in Brum
Hello Spitlock,

Labourer is the first step on the ladder, a bit like the rank "sapper" on the Corp. Its a good starting point and can be decent money, from their you could start trade training at night or go on a course to get a ticket to drive plant. I wouldn't start too far up the ladder because you can have bad experiences and it put you off for life.
noted thanks for the advice. When I first got out I rang up loads of builders and asked about work saying I had a NVQ in general construction (Knew the B1 would come in handy for something) NVQ in welding, worked on constructions sites around the world, got own vehicle and can travel etc, everyone I spoke to was really helpful, but as a labourer only got offered 40quid a day, im not expecting thousands, but thats hardly enough to tie the loose ends! any more tips and is 40quid a day about right?
I would say 40quid a day is low, more in the region of twice that now, the best thing you can do is make a start, get to know people and then ring around when they leave your site for another to see how green the grass is there.
 
#11
£40 per day is so low that it's bordering, if not at, National Minimum Wage.

That said, the Terms and Conditions that go with it can make a big difference to the total income.

I did a spot of labouring 30 years ago and the basic pay was very poor (less than Army pay at the time, in fact - and Army pay was at an all time low then). I quickly discovered that a labourer's wage was enhanced by bonuses and that the value of these depended on the nature of the work. Digging holes had a low bonus, digging holes in the rain was a bit more, chasing channels in walls was a neat little earner, but unloading the cement wagon was the pearl. When that wagon arrived, you wouldn't find a labourer anywhere else on site. A pleasant surprise came later. The company I worked for also had a holiday pay scheme - you were obliged to contribute some of your earnings to it. What wasn't apparent until later was that the company also paid into it, and quite generously. All things considered, the actual pay was about twice the basic.

Something else to look out for is overtime. Some jobs don't offer any, so £40 would be a kick in the teeth. Some expect you to do an extra couple of hours each day plus a half day on Saturday, so you could actually be looking at £300 per week instead of £200.

It pays to shop around, especially if you're willing to put extra time in.
 
#12
Evening all,

Top idea for a thread Sunshineboy, thought I'd contribute, for what it's worth.

Firstly, an idea that might help those thinking of leaving.

A couple of years ago I ran into a couple of blokes (2 x SNCO of which 1 x C+J, 1 x B+C) - both still serving - who had decided to start up a small side business as odd jobs / very small scale builders.

The last I heard, they were both due to leave and set up shop for real, having been doing this for nearly a year. The advantages were:

-experience of dealing in the real world. They'd run into all the little problems - and solved them - while still in the army. This ranged from stupid little things from where to park the van in the evening to really important things like how to ensure that your financial records are in order.

- An established client base that recommended the pair to their friends. Being good blokes, they'd done their best not to cut any corners, been honest to their clients and not overcharged.

- Their own tools, in a collection built up over time and as required. (Not sure if any of this came from the G10 - they swore not!)

All in all, a good package. I have no idea if they went on to success, or even if they ended up leaving the mob, (one was still a bit undecided), but I think that they would have made a lot of money.

In terms of the big boy's construction industry - big money comes with big responsibility. I would start with a job that you know is well within your ability, (labourer, chippy's mate, tipper driver) and then work upwards. One of the best civvy project managers I have ever worked with started as a plumber's mate, and was on 70K on the Costa del Sol by the time he was 35. No degrees or fancy quals along the way, although he was the first to admit that they would have made life easier.

Hope this helps, and good luck all.
 
#13
I work in construction as a elf n safety nazi, most corps lads I know who are in the building trade, are ex SNCOs, and are in well to do management positions.

Its hard to compete on the tools as you cannot speak polish, and your wage expectations will be to high. :x

one thing that doesnt go down to well in civi strausse is squaddie talk. best thing to do is keep your head down, work hard and you will get on.

By the way the grass is not always greener!!!! 8O

K
 
#14
I work in construction as a Clerk of Works and the job is well paid and rewarding. I have met a few ex sappers and they all seemed miserable as f~ck - probably because despite years of service, operational tours and experience they opted for the first job they saw in the job ads.

The Rev is right about squaddie speak - most won't have a scoobie about what you just said, and the Irish begin to look at you suspiciously. So instead of wait out, tell 'em to hang on - your foreman isn't sunray minor and the boss of your com[any isn't 0A!
 
#15
Rifle-Green-Sex-Machine said:
I work in construction as a Clerk of Works and the job is well paid and rewarding. I have met a few ex sappers and they all seemed miserable as f~ck - probably because despite years of service, operational tours and experience they opted for the first job they saw in the job ads.

The Rev is right about squaddie speak - most won't have a scoobie about what you just said, and the Irish begin to look at you suspiciously. So instead of wait out, tell 'em to hang on - your foreman isn't sunray minor and the boss of your com[any isn't 0A!
Did you train as a clerk of works in the army, or pick it up when upon leaveing? I understand the 2 jobs are completely different? I've had quite a few puzzled looks when I've asked for a leave pass,sorry, I mean holiday form or what time do we finish "1730 hours" thats half past 5 isn't it.

I had a Project Manager who thought I was the Dogs B***ocks because I had been in the mob, I use to get away with alsorts.
 
#16
Clerk of Works in civvy street is a lot different to a military Clerk of Works. A civvy Clk Wks is basically a building inspector who checks work is being built to the specification etc, etc. A military Clk Wks does that as well as building design, some structural design, quantity surveying, building surveying, property management, health and safety nazi on site and some civil stuff (but the civil stuff is basic as the MPF's and PQE's are responsible for this side of things).
 
#17
I was not RE so I don't know exactly what they do, but under contract law a Civvy CoW cannot design works. He can advise on how something should be built, but the Project Supervisor for the Design Stage, usually an Architect, has a singular responsibility for producing a set of drawings so that the Project Supervisor for the Construction Stage, the Contractor, can build the project safely. A Civvy CoW ensures that the Architects (and primarily the Clients) vision is carried out to spec, building regs and any other statutory requirements. So as you can see, although a Civvy CoW would have the knowledge to carry out some design, legally he cannot. Any ideas must be approved by the Architect/Engineer, and by matter of law becomes theirs.

A Civvy CoW is involved in quantity surveying, but usually this is in conjunction with the ongoing works. He needs to be fully competent in this discipline to assist the QS is all cost matters, delays and ensure that the specified materials and amounts laid down in the Bills of Quantities are used.

A Civvy Cow legally cannot set out the works, but has a duty to check the setting out. This ensures that no blame or fault can lie with the Design Team/Client during the construction of the works if any element is out of place.

As for H&S - we all have a duty to work safely, but a Civvy CoW also has a duty to the Client to ensure that the Contractor does not carry out work that can affect the health, safety and welfare of workers on site. That now has spread to environmental issues, normally laid out in the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement).

So, in summary, a Military CoW can get away with more because they are not bound by Civvy contract law, but basically the roles are the same. There are two main differences as far as I can tell (apart from the uniform) - a Military CoW can at times work under extremely dangerous conditions, but a Civvy CoW will generally work on larger projects and have more responsibility (building wise).








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#18
Generally an ex RE Clk Wks will be a construction manager or project manager rather than leaving to be a clerk of works. Apparently a name change is being discussed because it doesn't really reflect the role they fulfill.
 
#19
plant_life said:
Generally an ex RE Clk Wks will be a construction manager or project manager rather than leaving to be a clerk of works. Apparently a name change is being discussed because it doesn't really reflect the role they fulfill.
Unfortunately, the Clk Wks doesn't quite fit the construction manager or project manager role either. These civvy jobs generally have two initial methods of entry - either from graduates with little experience or from general foremen with lots of experience but few qualifications.

This highlights the reverse of the dilemma faced within the Army between the Regular Clk Wks and the TA Clk Wks. The former has a very wide knowledge base but probably hasn't had the opportunity to practice his knowledge in great detail. The TA Clk Wks will generally have a narrow knowledge base but will be experienced and current in what he knows. (Somehow, these differences need to be reduced to allow better integration - or it needs to be accepted that the TA Clk Wks fulfills a different role to the Regular and benefits the organisation in a more specialised way).

Taking the graduate-level entry out of the equation, a civvy employer should be looking for people that have in-depth knowledge of the disciplines required in his particular project, whether it be road, bridge, office or domestic construction etc. Note that the operative word is "or" rather than "and."

Depending on the individual experiences of the Regular Clk Wks, he may be able to slot into the civvy system or he may be like a fish out of water, frustrated that he has the ability but not given the opportunity to prove it. In this respect, tasks that would be seen as a good move in terms improving his military career (providing expansion of his knowledge base)could actually hamper his prospects for a civvy career.
 
#20
I had no problem slipping into a 6 week attachment at Aspire doing a construction managers job.
I think more and more Clk Wks are trying for full membership of their respective institues (CIOB and CIBSE) so negating the need for a degree. You also have the DMX route with an apporved degree by distance learning (the College of Estate Management at Reading has some really good distance learning honours degrees and they are quite willing to accomodate squaddies and the fact they are posted around, on tour etc etc). Personnally I don't think that a Clk Wks would struggle to get a job in the civilian industry.
 
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