Fitter/Design Trades and field command appointments

#21
:( Have to admit the current situation is pretty c**p to say the least. The Corps is effectively streaming individuals right at the start of their career, rather than as in the past at senior LCpl/Cpl level. It also flies completely in the face of the Military Engineer concept "soldier - combat engineer - trade" that the Corps prides itself on and uses in all its marketing.

Things are looking particularly grim for the design trades at the moment with the likely loss of all the WO1 (SMI) posts at RSME with PPP. There will soon be no hope of reaching WO1 unless you go G4 (fairly enjoyable but ultimately thank-less) or Clerk of Works (and here's the rub because cynically it suits the Corps to have a stream of high quality candidates with no option but to apply).

However I don't think the situation will change unless it becomes such an issue that the Chain of Command have to take notice so here's some suggestions.

1. If you can, get round the other affected trades in your unit the next time REMCM Div visit and ambush them with a well reasoned, logical, well presented question when they ask for questions at the end of their usual slick presentation of "statistics". Suggest the central theme is that you joined to be a soldier - cbt engr - tradesman/woman but the Corps won't let you. If they get the same treatment at every unit one would hope it will sink in.

2. Bombard ArmyNet's Royal Engineers Forum with the same comments as are on this thread. The moderator works for the EinC! Someone in "management" might just see it!

3. Raise the issue every time you are visited by a senior sapper officer, like a previous post stated, when he asks you one of those inane "boots fit, mail getting through?" type questions. You never know they may actually listen.

Or as cdn_spr disparingly mentions get out. Knowing him well, I think, this is not a decision he's taking lightly. However if we can't do what we do best because there is no-one to survey the site, investigate the soil type, draw the design, set it out, test the concrete or fix the machinery then perhaps someone may take notice. Personally I'd hate to see it come to that.

Or soldier on! :(
 
#22
i work with a fitter acr who is also in the same boat been told that he won't get his B1 as he "does'nt" need it but he will keep putting the course bids in, but he is one of those people that like to throw themselves out of perfectly servicable aeroplanes so he would expect to be a section commander at some time in the future but obviously not any more, where do blokes go from here on in "sqms stream" but like the man says that is the worlds most thankless job within the corps (i know only too well from personal experience)
we will loose a lot of good sappers with this rule & at this present minute we need to hang onto as many as we can. surely someone somewhere in one of the "puzzle palaces" can recognise this fact.
its not like its a hard course at the end of the day, let the lads who want to do the course do it & those who don't just give it a miss.
 
#23
When I did my Clerk of Works course a few years ago I had to be a B1 to get loaded on to it. Why?

I have never had to use my B1 skills since becoming a Clerk of Works. Do potential Clerk of Works still have to be a B1 or not?

Having looked up this subject in the 'blue book' it appears that most trades can do a B1 course and take the knocker stream, but I am not sure whats happening in reality.
 
#24
It seems than REMCM Div are fully aware of this problem but are sticking to their guns. Unfortunately it is ultimately up to them- I believe that they have decided to take quantity over quality and shoe-horn unwilling FTRs into Q stream and accept the high sign off rate. When their priorities are trying to fill shortfalls in Q stream rather than retaining the type of soldier who wants the Cbt Stream then there is not much you can do. When they realise that sprs have voted with their feet it will be too late- even though it doesn't take the brains of a sh1thouse spider to see that the more able and motivated soldiers are the ones who will leave. If vacancies on B1 courses exist then let's fill them with whoever wants to go and then board them accordingly. What have you got to lose?
 
#25
I'm an A2 FTR ACR currently serving at 9. Whilst on my trade course a friend of mine at 51 , also my trade, was loaded on to his B1. Despite the fact the course wasn't even full he was fucked off on his first day!! I queried this with the Plumbing and FTR ACR Q wilst I was there and he said it shouldn't make any difference though clearly the written rules differ from his opinion. As one of only two FTR ACR's serving in an unit highly active in the cobat engineer role (albeit HESCO and digging shitters :) ) i think it's disgraceful not to be allowed my B1. I recently went to iraq in the summertime and wasn't caled to do my trade once and at the time I was the only Fridge mech in the squadron. Considering that it is possible to serve the majority of my time in the Squadron (someone served 12 years in one stint) if not within the Regt, especially with the lack of Airborne trained blokes, it is unlikely I will be massively involved with my trade but heavily involved as a combat engineer. I think this issue needs urgent review as retention is a massive issue. I was considering Clerk of Jerks but am extremely angry at being channeled in this direction. Although I want a long fulfilling career in the Army (keen ****) this makes me seriously consider signing off!!
 
#26
I am one of the lucky few who have done their B1, FSC and JCC and hope to be able to spread my wings outside into the field army once the design pyramid for my trade has been reached. But as it stands now, there is a flat top pyramid for most of us, with the senior posts and ranks being wiped out at the stroke of a pen, and the final rank open to trade stopping at SSgt for some and even Sgt or Cpl for others. I joined the Corps to serve a full career serving both in trade which i have enjoyed but also doing the combat side of life which I have equally enjoyed.

As 'the_world_is_flat' says, we have to make other people realise otherwise we shall blowing hot air for nothing. But we also need to present strong constructive facts, otherwise we will never give ourselves a fighting chance.

Long life the Fitter/Design Trades.
 
#27
Hopefully this is the last time I resurrect this post but......


My troopy attempted to load myself and a CMT in my troop onto a B1 last month in a last ditch attempt to keep me from signing off. Guess what....denied. This being despite the fact that there were only 16 people loaded on the course at the moment. Cost effective? And again, the reason we were denied was 'you're design trades'. Nevermind the fact we've got a tour coming up to Kenya in september where conceivably there'll be a need for quite a few B1's, and as I'm a lance-jack it'd be logical for me to be a B1.

Also, having looked at the nominal roll of surveyors, I find that 46% of surveyors are employed in field/armd sqns or field sp squadrons! When you take into consideration the fact that 3/4 of the surveyors in my squadron have signed off or will sign off because of being trade streamed, surely this belies the fact that retention is a issue taken seriously by REMCM div?
 
#28
If you are posted to field appointment you WILL do the course. Sadly what happens at too many units is guys get posted in to a trade slot and then the RCMO (or Sqns) put them where there are shortages rather than where they were originally posted hence why a Fitter can end in a Section rather than doing their job.

B1 courses used to be loaded by the clerks at Gib not that long ago. However, too many people who didn't need the B1 for promotion were preventing those who did from attending so something had to be done. One of the things which helped screw it up for everyone (even those who shouldn't have been on it) was when most of the Sigs Wing at Gib, if not all of them, took up a whole course because under Pay 2K they couldn't get the higher rate of pay without it.

If you don't need B1 Cbt Engr for your trade/career you shouldn't be trying to get it as it can cause a career foul. If your CRs keep saying what a great Cbt Engr you are - but really you are a Fitter - how can you possibly compete on a Promotion Board when compared to your peers who have all been reported on in their trade??

The trades who do not require B1 Cbt Engr for promotion are Dvr, C3S, Ftr, Res Spec, Des Q and POM. Annex R to the Blue Book, note 7 states for Ftrs and Des Q "Although not needed for promotion ME (Cbt) Class 1 is required for Fd Sect Comds Course, ME (Amph) Class 1 and ME (BD) Class 1."

So volunteer to go to 33 Engr Regt (EOD). No guarantees you will get it but if anyone can wangle it for you they can :)

The allocation of who can or can't do B1 Cbt Engr doesn't need to change but units need to be hauled over the coals for employing people out of trade i.e. employing a Fitter in a section.

PS: This rule was around in the old version of the Blue Book dated July 1997 so it's not new - just enforced.
 
#29
Lynxtips said:
If you are posted to an LSN which requires B1 Cbt Engr you WILL do the course. Sadly what happens at too many units is guys get posted in to a trade LSN and then the RCMO puts them where there are shortages rather than where they were originally posted hence why a Fitter can end up as a Section 2IC. The trades who do not require B1 Cbt Engr for their careers are Dvr, C3S, Ftr, Res Spec, Des Q, POM.

B1 courses used to be loaded by the clerks at Gib not that long ago. However, too many people who didn't need the B1 for their career were preventing those who did from attending so something had to be done. One of the things which helped screw it up for everyone (even those who shouldn't have been on it) was when most of the Sigs Wing at Gib, if not all of them, took up a most of a B1 course as under Pay 2K they couldn't get the higher rate of pay without it.

If you don't need the course for your trade/career you shouldn't be trying to get it because it can cause a career foul. If your CRs keep saying what a great B1 Cbt Engr you are - but really you are a Fitter - how can you possibly complete at a Promotion Board when compared to your peers who have all been reported on in their trade??

The allocation of who can or can't do B1 Cbt Engr doesn't need to change but units need to be hauled over the coals for employing people out of trade i.e. Fitter as a Section 2IC.

ANYONE who wants to get B1 should volunteer to go to 33 Engr Regt (EOD) ( No guarantees you will get it but if anyone can wangle it for you they can )
Thanks for the informative answer. Although it doesn't really make my position any more tenable.

Regarding your comment about promotions, herein lies another facet to the problem. Surely they're putting des/q and ftr trades at a slight disadvantage compared to artisan trades? For example, LCpl X is a A1 chippy, B1 cbt engr. He can either promote into a trade post or ME cbt post. LCpl Y is a surveyor. has excellent CR's, very keen etc etc, but can only promote into an A1 post. Both get picked up on the same board, Cpl X goes either to a trade post or Fd Sect comd post. LCpl Y cannot be promoted until a Cpl (A1 svy engr) post is available. I've seen it happen with a Ftr ACR, who was effectively a sect comd for nearly a year previously, who had to wait a year before wearing his 2nd and even that was at the start of his CoW course, which he was reluctant to do in the first place. And judging by the speed at which artisan tradesmen are getting picked up I doubt an influx of some (not all mind) design/ftr tradesmen are going to 'steal posts' from the artisan trades. I mean, whats better, making a mediocre artisan tradesman a sect comd, just to fill a gap? Or a motivated and highly competent des/ftr tradesman?

Apologies if I got that wrong, but that is the system as I see it from my very shop floor point of view. I also only used Des/Q and ftr trades as they're the most likely to end up in field troops, as opposed to Res spec, C3S poms and dvrs.

What also needs to be taken into account is the fact that most SNCO posts, at least in my trade, are being scrapped this year, making it even more unlikely for surveyors to reach WO1. Again, a retention issue, for what is the point of me staying in if I'm going to top out at SSgt at best, unless I go Q stream or CoW.

Oh and I've volunteered to go to EOD, from the very beginning. No such luck!
 
#30
Ooops!!! Sorry I edited my last post before your reply was posted to try and make what I said a bit clearer - hope it doesn't confuse people too much.

cdn_spr said:
Surely they're putting des/q and ftr trades at a slight disadvantage compared to artisan trades? For example, LCpl X is a A1 chippy, B1 cbt engr. He can either promote into a trade post or ME cbt post. LCpl Y is a surveyor. has excellent CR's, very keen etc etc, but can only promote into an A1 post. Both get picked up on the same board, Cpl X goes either to a trade post or Fd Sect comd post. LCpl Y cannot be promoted until a Cpl (A1 svy engr) post is available. I've seen it happen with a Ftr ACR, who was effectively a sect comd for nearly a year previously, who had to wait a year before wearing his 2nd and even that was at the start of his CoW course, which he was reluctant to do in the first place.
No LCpl X will promote as an Artisan, assuming he is not streamed Cbt Engr, and can be allocated a field appointment, trade appointment or unspecified appointment i.e. no specific trade required like RP. LCpl Y will promote as trade but can be allocated trade appointment, unspecified appointment or field appointment (when he would get his B1). Each has 3 options therefore no disadvantage. RE MCM will try very hard not to send LCpl X to an unspecified post and LCpl Y to a field post - but they do when they have to.

cdn_spr said:
And judging by the speed at which artisan tradesmen are getting picked up I doubt an influx of some (not all mind) design/ftr tradesmen are going to 'steal posts' from the artisan trades. I mean, whats better, making a mediocre artisan tradesman a sect comd, just to fill a gap? Or a motivated and highly competent des/ftr tradesman?
Why should even one soldier miss out on promotion because someone else has decided to change trades for better promotion prospects or they want more bites of the promotion cherry? Personally I have issues with the speed some people are getting promoted and cannot see how it is justified in many cases but that is another matter.

I think the bigger issue has to be what you are told at Gib when you see the PSO. Are people getting misled into trades where there are shortages without knowing the full facts or are the facts explained but people aren't understanding them and the implications?

cdn_spr said:
Apologies if I got that wrong, but that is the system as I see it from my very shop floor point of view. I also only used Des/Q and ftr trades as they're the most likely to end up in field troops, as opposed to Res spec, C3S poms and dvrs.
It all depends on the unit you go to. At one stage we had 16 more POMs than we were established for and about 40 drivers too many but we had no fitters or geo techs and had C3S guys working in sections 8O 8O What do you do when you keep getting sent soldiers of specific trades but you have already met your establishment table allocations? RE MCM do have a lot to answer for but so do units for mis-managing their soldiers.

cdn_spr said:
What also needs to be taken into account is the fact that most SNCO posts, at least in my trade, are being scrapped this year, making it even more unlikely for surveyors to reach WO1. Again, a retention issue, for what is the point of me staying in if I'm going to top out at SSgt at best, unless I go Q stream or CoW.
There are probably quite a few unspecified SNCO posts your trade can fill and that is probably what they are thinking of but you have to remember it may be written in black and white but RE MCM will bend the rules to suit themselves.

If you know how the promotion boards and trade pyramids work thats when you can really start saying things could be construed as unfair and people are disadvantaged but thats is another topic entirely.
 
#31
[quote="The_world_is_flat]If you can, get round the other affected trades in your unit the next time REMCM Div visit and ambush them with a well reasoned, logical, well presented question when they ask for questions at the end of their usual slick presentation of "statistics". Suggest the central theme is that you joined to be a soldier - cbt engr - tradesman/woman but the Corps won't let you. If they get the same treatment at every unit one would hope it will sink in.[/quote]

REMCM Div visited us yesterday and this issue was raised by a number of design tradesmen, including an SMI. In summary the reply from REMCM Div is:

As far as they are concerned all four design trades are now just "feeder trades for Clerk of Works". Potential recruits are to be briefed that if they take up a design trade that is the career path they will follow.

When PPP eventually kicks in at RSME the military posts lost to the Partner will be transferred to the Field Army - but only in number not by appointment. The SMIs' posts will be lost completely. That is to say all those design traded personnel currently serving will not be able to reach WO1 in a trade post. Indeed as a Dtmn E&M your new career pyramid will peak at Cpl.

As I see it for those already serving you're faced with 3 choices:

1. Swallow your pride, dilute your trade skills and go Clerk of Works (if you're young enough).
2. Stay within the Design/Q stream, dilute your trade skills and take your chances in G4.
3. Walk. Easier said than done I know.

Personally I am gutted for all those who have passed some of the most academically demanding courses a soldier can complete in the Corps - only to be told the only way you can progress to WO1 is to leave it all behind.

Is this any way to motivate people?
 
#32
I asked an RCMO yesterday about B1s and fitter/pom/design streams. I said whilst not likely for poms there are a lot of design/fitter trades out there in field troops but they aren't allowed on B1s, is this likely to change any time soon. He said no. So more good news for those who like knockering but can't get the qualification due to some daft MCM div policy. I think they would rather have have full courses than let fitters, pom and design trades on the course.
 
#33
Hi, I've read this thread and don't really understand it. I was wanting to join up as a Fitter but take more of a combat engineer path. Would I be able to do this, or would a different trade be an easier way?
 
#34
It can go either way with fitter. You may end up in a Sp Tp or a REME Workshop and not touch combat engineering. You may end up in a field or armoured troop and never really touch it again (less fixing gennys and power tools). It's a very difficult one to predict.
 
#35
Geordie14 said:
Hi, I've read this thread and don't really understand it. I was wanting to join up as a Fitter but take more of a combat engineer path. Would I be able to do this, or would a different trade be an easier way?
Be very careful what trade you choose. Fitters are currently streamed Fitter/Q, which means as your career progresses you will be steered away from combat engineering towards posts that either require your trade skills or you'll be looking after squadron or regimental stores. The alternative would be to apply to become a Clerk of Works (Mechanical), which is actually what the Corps would prefer you to do (and why they will not allow you to follow a combat engineering biased career in the first place). Plant_life is right that in your first posting or two you may end up doing some combat engineering in a troop but as you progress the Corps will deny you access to the courses that will qualify you to continue in a combat engineer role. That is what this thread is essentially about ie the Corps selling itself as soldier first - combat engineer second - tradesman third and then denying a good number of soldiers that opportunity - essentially to keep the Clerk of Works courses supplied with candidates.

If you want to follow a combat engineer route, with occasional trade work, you must go for an artisan trade eg bricklayer, carpenter, B&SF, electrician, fabricator, plumber.

Do you research thoroughly and ask lots of questions.
 
#36
At least it's not as bad in as the REME. If they don't go Tiffy at full screw they are stuck at Sgt until they reach their 15 year point. They have to pick up first look at that point to have a hope of getting their WO1. That is seriously disadvantaging people just because they are not accademically (? spelling) inclined.
 
#37
Thanks for the replies and explaining that for me. I'm gonna have a good think on what trade to go for and pop in to the careers office. Although the last time I was there they said 'Why combat engineering, its only basic engineering work.'
Thanks again.
 
#39
Geordie14 said:
Although the last time I was there they said 'Why combat engineering, its only basic engineering work.'
Thanks again.
WHAT!!! I take it you had no RE recruiters at your office then? I bet they were grunts that do not have a clue about what the Engineers have to offer or what they do. I have 2 at my office and I've heard them give complete and utter Sh!t advice out when talking about Engineers, therefore I have to spend my time re-briefing punters on what something that was bluffed to them earlier.
Geordie14, this place or the RE website is your best place for advice if you have no RE recruiters at your office, or indeed tell them that you want to go on a RE look @ life course which is held at Ripon (for the North) or Gib Bks, Surrey (for the South). They are for 5 days, Mon - Fri and all travel, food & accommodation is taken care off. Although it is more designed for 16 - 19 year olds but are open to everybody wishing to join the Royal Engineers. They are run by RE RRT's who have a wealth of knowledge (allegedly) and will happily steer you in the direction you wish.

Anyway, all the best buddy and I hope you get what your looking for,
 
#40
plant_life said:
At least it's not as bad in as the REME. If they don't go Tiffy at full screw they are stuck at Sgt until they reach their 15 year point. They have to pick up first look at that point to have a hope of getting their WO1. That is seriously disadvantaging people just because they are not accademically (? spelling) inclined.
Yes but perversely only the RE could disadvantage its soldiers because they are academically inclined!

Become a combat engineer/artisan and the world is your oyster. You have all the career progression to QMSI, SSM, RSM and a good chance at commissioning as a result. If that doesn't work out have a shot at Clerk of Works. A POM has a shot at Plant/Q, MPF or Clerk of Works. Yet effectively some of the most intelligent soldiers in the Corps will soon have little or no career progression, unless they "dump" their trade and go Clerk of Works or G4.

Is it me?
 
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