Foreman of Signals

#1
Hello. I am after a serious debate here. I know a few Foreman around the Corps and they seem rather annoyed at the recent name change. I've heard that the Supvr IS are now called FofS IS. What annoys them the most, is not that they are called Foreman, but the fact that the little bit on the end says 'of Signals'. I've read a few posts about this, but it all seems to be a bit of back stabbing going on by some rather sad people. What annoys them is that there is no 'Signals' related stuff in their job. Before you start to bite, hear me out. Their job is predominantly IS as the title suggests but if asked to do anything outside that area (capability manager) then I feel some of the more junior ones might struggle. Also on the Foreman IS course there is no command training at all, it is all classroom based, not even any exercises. I think it will all lead to confusion with the name change and some very pissed off CO's/OC's who might expect the Foreman IS to be as experienced as a regular Foreman.
 
#3
Roger_Ramjet said:
Also on the Foreman IS course there is no command training at all, it is all classroom based, not even any exercises.
Roger, most of the claims that attribute to others are based on outdated rumour, but that particular sentence is 100% false, fella. If you like I can point you to where you can see the course syllabus (on the RLI rather than tinternet) rather than taking some idiots' grievances at face value. You will see what the course actually involves. I can also direct you to all the formal course information on the proper FofS course and I think there is stuff in there that would surprise you. The current FofS (IS) course as they now call it has been designed from the bottom up, by TDT and DCCIS in response to the needs of the field army. One of those requirements is to apply testing and verification activities to all career courses. The FofS (IS) course does the same command training module that all the other supervisory courses do. I think the course still needs some attention, however what I've seen of it is very good and fit for purpose - long may it continue.

Regards,

PD
 
#4
I cannot believe that people no matter how good they are in their area can be called foreman of signals after doing a weeks selection and a 10 month course when the poor old proper forman has to carry out a 7 month TMA distance learning package followed a 2, 3 hour exams followed by a week long selection and then a 20 month course. Whilst they are doing all that the foreman IS has done the course probably before the normal foreman has got on his due to their selection process and will have sat two promotion boards and will probably be a WO2 before the proper foreman has finished their course. He then has to go to a working unit and be junior therefore less paid but has to carry out a higher profile job.
 
#5
They do not do the same command training as the foreman Ive never seen a IS foreman go out in OSC on a ptarmigan exercise or in RADCON for a Bowman exercise.
 
#6
The_Flumps said:
I cannot believe that people no matter how good they are in their area can be called foreman of signals after doing a weeks selection and a 10 month course when the poor old proper forman has to carry out a 7 month TMA distance learning package followed a 2, 3 hour exams followed by a week long selection and then a 20 month course. Whilst they are doing all that the foreman IS has done the course probably before the normal foreman has got on his due to their selection process and will have sat two promotion boards and will probably be a WO2 before the proper foreman has finished their course. He then has to go to a working unit and be junior therefore less paid but has to carry out a higher profile job.
But who ends up with a degree as well as being a 'real' Forman?
 
#7
The_Flumps said:
I cannot believe that people no matter how good they are in their area can be called foreman of signals after doing a weeks selection and a 10 month course when the poor old proper forman has to carry out a 7 month TMA distance learning package followed a 2, 3 hour exams followed by a week long selection and then a 20 month course. Whilst they are doing all that the foreman IS has done the course probably before the normal foreman has got on his due to their selection process and will have sat two promotion boards and will probably be a WO2 before the proper foreman has finished their course. He then has to go to a working unit and be junior therefore less paid but has to carry out a higher profile job.
Hey I didn't say I agreed with the name, however we need to accept that we're all just soldiers and we do our job regardless of what title they call us. Regarding the supposed promotion lag, surely it's no different from the YofS course in principle? They do a week selection, followed by a much shorter course than the FofS, get promoted to SSgt at the end (around a year earlier than their tech counterparts). I have always wondered if the reason the eligibility criteria for YofS selection was set at Cpl to offset the time promotion that the techs always had (e.g. automatic prom to Cpl six months in the first unit and Sgt after about 5 or 6 years). But the FofS only misses a single promotion board, not two, and that doesn't make much of a dent on the promotion ladder in the long run. It's slightly unfair to criticise only the IS bods and not the other supervisory trades.

I totally agree with you that the coneheads have got a pretty favourable deal (spawny gits), but you cannot seriously argue that the FofS gets slower promotion in the long run. OK, so they may possibly have a single year where they are leapfrogged by other supervisory trades (YofS (EW) is the shortest of the lot) but when you consider time served within the longer career span then it's a mixed picture. If one considers how many very young TOTs we have seen in recent years, compared to RD, IS and EW, it suggests that the vast majority of our Foremen are remaining well ahead of the promotion ladder. There are a few TOTs who leave the Army at 40, having been a Captain for two tours or more. You could suggest the same for Traffics but I think that reflects the fact that we have always accepted thrusting Cpls onto the YofS selection and so those guys are at the forefront of their peergroup too.

Airfix said:
But who ends up with a degree as well as being a 'real' Forman?
Well done to all the real Forman [sic] and their degree, they work hard to attain that biatch. However when all is said and done, we all leave the army one day and the important thing is what we can do, not what we were.

The_Flumps said:
They do not do the same command training as the foreman Ive never seen a IS foreman go out in OSC on a ptarmigan exercise or in RADCON for a Bowman exercise.
"Command" training is not the same thing as planning and deploying a Ptarmigan or CNR exercise surely? You're right that command skills, among other skills, are tested but it's pointless testing people in completely unrealistic scenarios just on the basis that those scenarios have a command element, as there would be no training value and thus it would be a waste of time. But that's just my opinion. I would like to see the geeks having more exercises but it depends what you want to test.
 
#8
If I was a Supervisor (IS), I feel a bit of a cnut and a fraud if I got called Foreman.

What a ridiculous decision.
 
#9
PoisonDwarf said:
"Command" training is not the same thing as planning and deploying a Ptarmigan or CNR exercise surely? You're right that command skills, among other skills, are tested but it's pointless testing people in completely unrealistic scenarios just on the basis that those scenarios have a command element, as there would be no training value and thus it would be a waste of time. But that's just my opinion. I would like to see the geeks having more exercises but it depends what you want to test.
I would argue both your assessment of the realism of the scenarios tested and your ascertation that the only purpose of the training is the command element.

Firstly the training and testing is as realistic as is possible with the assets and facilities available and secondly my understanding of the concept of "Capability Manager" is that all supervisor trades within an Ops team should be able to demonstrate a familiarity and understanding of each other's roles and duties. Are you suggesting that the FofS(IS) shouldn't be included in the Capability Manager concept or just that they shouldn't be considered as part of the Ops team?
 
#10
the_guru said:
If I was a Supervisor (IS), I feel a bit of a cnut and a fraud if I got called Foreman.

What a ridiculous decision.
Agree to a certain extent with your second point, but i fail to see why they should feel a cnut or fraud. As far as i'm aware, no one on the Supvr IS roster requested a change of title and no one is trying to cut into the role of the traditional Foreman Of Signals. They will continue to supervise information systems, they're defrauding no one.
 
#12
DeeJay said:
I would argue both your assessment of the realism of the scenarios tested and your ascertation that the only purpose of the training is the command element.

Firstly the training and testing is as realistic as is possible with the assets and facilities available and secondly my understanding of the concept of "Capability Manager" is that all supervisor trades within an Ops team should be able to demonstrate a familiarity and understanding of each other's roles and duties. Are you suggesting that the FofS(IS) shouldn't be included in the Capability Manager concept or just that they shouldn't be considered as part of the Ops team?
No, I said that those are not command training per se, in response to an assertion that IS bods don't do the same command training as FofS and YofS on the basis that they don't do the Ptarmigan and CNR exercise. Because those exercises are specific in what they teach and test, where's the value in putting the FofS (IS) on the same exercise. It's nothing to do with being able to do the other person's job - the other supervisory trades don't do the information systems design, planning and deployment bits either. Neither do they have the same emphasis (i.e. constant assessment) on service management, system security and other certain bits that the FofS(IS) get hammered on. The "capability manager" issue is a separate skillset that TDT is looking at right now and all supervisory courses will do the same module. As for "membership" of the ops team, that's a non-argument and simply not borne out by reality. More and more of the geek squad are employed in regular Regt and Sqn ops teams than ever before. I have a sneaking suspicion that the vast majority of the anti-IS cynics on here ("they come over here taking our jobs") have never worked in a Regt / Sqn alongside their IS counterparts. I know we all love a good trade war from time to time but it seems that people will argue that black is blue before they accept the decisions made by the SOinC!

monkeyspanker said:
On the WO1 promotion board results (today), it lists them as Foreman (IS), not Foreman of Signals (IS).

Have Glasgow got it wrong? (again!)
Nah, they also called the FofS "Foreman", not "Foreman of Signals". Brevity can be a useful thing.
 
#13
At some point (assuming you live long enough) everyone leaves the army. When that happens and you apply for a civvy job, they do not give a crap about previous job titles. Experience and qualifications/ability are all that count.
 
#14
I think the Corp might have a problem getting people to come on the proper Foremans course now that there is so little to gain in becoming a foreman eg no extra pay and slower promotion than other supervisors due to length of course. Why are they going to spend 3 years becoming a foreman when they see IS ops becomng Foreman in less than 1 year
 
#15
The_Flumps said:
I think the Corp might have a problem getting people to come on the proper Foremans course now that there is so little to gain in becoming a foreman eg no extra pay and slower promotion than other supervisors due to length of course. Why are they going to spend 3 years becoming a foreman when they see IS ops becomng Foreman in less than 1 year
They're different job roles. If your following a career path that leads you from technician, through your Cl 1 and onto the Foreman's course your not going to give a rats about what the IS Engrs or Foreman IS are doing.

Dont be blinkered by titles.
 
#16
The_Flumps said:
I think the Corp might have a problem getting people to come on the proper Foremans course now that there is so little to gain in becoming a foreman eg no extra pay and slower promotion than other supervisors due to length of course. Why are they going to spend 3 years becoming a foreman when they see IS ops becomng Foreman in less than 1 year
My bolding.

Is that true? Do Foremen of Signals no longer receive additional pay to say a Tech of = rank? FofS is a hard course and deserves decent pay on completion. Mind you, FofS is an excellent qualification for civvy street. I doubt that YofS or Supervisor Radio makes the same grade in after-millitary life.

I must admit that while serving a civvy life tends to be put out of mind. At least until it hits home that you will not be in the army forever. Something I did not realise until I was within 6 months of retiring.
 
#17
boney_m said:
They're different job roles. If your following a career path that leads you from technician, through your Cl 1 and onto the Foreman's course your not going to give a rats about what the IS Engrs or Foreman IS are doing.

Dont be blinkered by titles.
I'm not the one who is blinkered with the new trade that is joining IS Eng with SET, which by the way sounds exactly like what we hads before IS Eng was started. There is only one thing they can do with the supervisor trades IS Sup anf FofS and that is join them too. It seems to me that IS supervisors will end up as proper Foreman after doing the 10 month course and the FofS will end up having done a monster course for the same position. I doubt the new combined FofS course will be as long as the current one. The change of name of the FofS (IS) is just to let the Proper FofS get used to the idea of being F****d over.
 
#18
The_Flumps said:
It seems to me that IS supervisors will end up as proper Foreman after doing the 10 month course and the FofS will end up having done a monster course for the same position. I doubt the new combined FofS course will be as long as the current one. The change of name of the FofS (IS) is just to let the Proper FofS get used to the idea of being F****d over.
Despite the similar titles, they are completely different courses and roles. The SOinC's letter suggests that the current FofS (IS) course (and appt) will die out once the CS Engr trade has been in place for sufficient time, presumably once the Class 1 CS Engrs have bedded in for 3 years or so. That will be the crunch time when all the predictions will succeed or fail regarding whether mere IS Engrs can cut it with their SET counterparts on the converged upgrader course. Or indeed vice versa.

Why would the FofS be f***ed over? Hasn't he already had very quick time promotion to Sgt and then gained an honours degree courtesy of the taxpayer? Difficult to see how this could be considered shabby treatment. Do you think that the current FofS course need to be as long as it is at the moment? And if so, are there areas that you think need to be considered for improvement or is the course absolutely 100% perfect for today's increasingly demanding digital battlefield? It probably depends upon how you view our (Corps) role in today's Army, but I'm interested to hear your ideas.
 
#19
Personally, I think that you do not need a degree to perform a Foremans job at all. Dont get me wrong, the degree is a very nice perk, but the course is run by civlians who only teach the degree and not how to be a Foreman. The only military content on the course worth anything at all is Ex Mercury Chain. Even that however is very dated, as it is still based around Ptarmigan. The course also includes a stint at Line Section and Power Section. Mmmm, seems to me that you get taught how to do everyone elses job apart from your own. The course is far too long, and the Corps wonders why there is a shortage of people attempting the exam. Scrap the civilian pish and make all Supervisor courses six months long. If you want a degree, pay for it yourself!!!

Rant over.
 
#20
Roger – If a CO/OC Sqn expected a FofS (IS) to be as experienced (although what do you actually mean by experienced, as they will be experienced in their own field, I think you may mean knowledgeable) as a ‘regular’ FofS, then that CO / OC Sqn needs a rocket up his backside for not being aware of what is going on in his own Corp!

Plus, I don’t think any course prepares you for your job, I wouldn’t have thought anyone comes away from Blandford fully prepared for their job after having just completed their relevant supervisory course (anyone like to comment!). It should however give you a firm basis to embark out in that job gaining experience along the way. The civilians teaching don’t set the course objectives – that’s done by TDT - your comment is akin to saying there’s no point going to school as nothing they teach prepares you for life afterwards!

If this is a thinly disguised attempt at IS bashing, then I feel it is wrongly targeted – as PD (or it may have been Boney_M) rightly points out in one of his many (PD do you not have a day job?) posts, neither the FofS or FofS (IS) asked for this name change – it seems to have come from a (in my opinion) rather ill-considered (and wrong) decision from the outgoing SOinC (although it has to be asked who the bloody hell was advising him?).

You can sort of see his reasoning, as reading the covering letter that came with the name change document, it appears the FofS IS will die away naturally (although nothing seen formally to back this up!) once the CS Eng have stared to filter through the FofS selection / course, but as this won’t realistically be for another 8/9 years, why not leave the status quo. The change in name doesn’t reflect the requirement to drive forward with the change in trade requirement etc etc it doesn’t appear to do anything constructive!

What’s in a name anyway – well (and this is my biggest gripe), the Foreman is a with a bit of history with (mostly) a long and successful past (and hopefully - future). It takes a lot of work to get there (both before and during the course - not saying that other trades don't!) and it is synonymous with both industry and senior officers (Corp and non Corp) of a group of people that can provide solutions to varying problems and when push comes to shove get the job done in trying circumstances. This name change will do nothing but muddy the waters (I can see the most frequent question now asked will be – ‘what sort of Foreman are you?’ Hopefully our new brethren bearing their new name (whether asked for or not!) will not detract opinion away from that train of thought.

PD – I don’t think any of us are in a position not to accept a decision made by the SOinC, it doesn’t mean we have to agree with it. I also wouldn’t argue that black is blue, although I once saw something I thought was black, but it was in fact very very very very very very dark blue!!!!!!

Also, oddly enough we were recently having a debate on the Ops room setup (and we even let the FofS (IS) join in!), with the contribution of the FofS IS to an In Barracks Ops team (Regimental as opposed to Sqn) the main topic – not arguing his ‘on Ops’ contribution credentials (or employment elsewhere!) – not even the FofS (IS) (once we had got him out of the Med centre and he had stopped dribbling! :lol: ) could actually come up with what his actual job entails. Could it be time for a radical rethink in employment as OC TM Troop (or Eng Sp Tp) - or is this a step to far?

Just as a parting shot, Roger asked for a sensible debate, which seemed to degenerate (as always) into a IS Eng / SET stand off. For those who still do not see the necessity of both trades, get yourselves out to HERRICK or TELIC, you will see two groups of people mostly rushing around with their hair on fire. Even if they could do each other’s job, they wouldn’t have time to – which brings up another point – where there are currently 2 LSNs for a SET and an IS Eng on an OET / ORBAT, will this then become 2 CS Engs or be cut to 1. If the latter I don’t fancy the amount of down time he/she won’t be getting!
 

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