Geology Graduate?

Discussion in 'Sappers' started by kdjh, Dec 12, 2007.

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  1. I graduated with a degree in geology this summer and have been considering the Army as a possible career path. I haven't had much luck getting a grad job in civy street, and the Army has been looking increasingly attractive. Not that I view it as a last resort, or any kind of "resort" for that matter, I've been considering a career in the army for a long time, and in many respects it seems very attractive after weighing up the pros and cons. I looked at the TA to get a taster for it, but apparently I'd have to go all the way to Nottingham (I live in Lancashire) to do geology.

    I have contacted the careers centre about this and they don't really have much information (any information for that matter). I have also looked on the Army careers website and haven't found out much (other than the army does have geologists). Does anyone here know anything about careers for geologists in the Army? For example, what does this involve (training and duties)? What is the typical day in the life of an army geologist/geotechnical engineer? What’s army life like (hard, easy etc)? Any other miscellaneous information?

    Thanks in advance and I hope this doesn't provoke a plethora of sarcastic remarks.
  2. Good question/s that most definately deserve a decent answer.

    Hopefully someone from Chilwell will be able to shed a bit of light on the answers to your questions.

    Cant help really. rocks, boulders and the like bore me almost as much to tears as listening to clerk of works babbling on about TIRs
  3. The TA you've prob ben told of is 65 Works Group - who are the TA eliment of 170 Engineer Group based in Chilwell.
    Unlike most of the TA who have to parade a majority of Tues or Wed evenings (Im not an expert on the TA so please dont quote me) the guys in 65 are 'specialists' so have no parade evenings to attend and have a reduced commitment to weekends also.
    From what I have seen (my dept get spammed to assist with just about every 65 weekend going) they have a weekend once a month but Im pretty sure you dont have to attend every one to qualify for your bounty.

    The best trade to look into would most probably be CMT (Construction Materials Technition - appologies for the mong type). The seem to be involved with Geology type stuff (test concrete, soil, sand etc)

    Not a conehead type bloke (Im a scaleyback) but hope Ive helped a little
  4. Have you thought about construction? Im a geology grad as well and when I was looking into TA options a RE unit dealing specifically with construction was strongly suggested to me. Cant remember their details, will dig them out for you. Your geology training sits pretty well with construction so might be worth a thought.
  5. You must be mad. The number of exploration slots in gold alone should get you a good postgraduate post. Add in what's going on in everything else in East, West and Central Africa and the world's your oyster.
  6. As you have a degree, you have a choice of joining as an officer or a soldier (a Sapper, in the Royal Engineers) - you'll have to pass some hurdles to do either, so have a look at the AOSB and Sandhurst topics in the Officer forum and the various topics about soldier selection / basic training.


    As an officer, after successful completion of Sandhurst and being selected for a commission in the Corps (neither of which are a foregone conclusion), you'll do the RE Troop Commanders' Course. After this you will serve your first 5-6 years in the 'main-stream' of the Corps before getting a chance to specialise.

    First (for 18 months to 2 years) you'll be a troop commander - leading about 30 guys, who might be armoured engineers (big tanks with bridges on top) or combat engineers (jacks-of-all-trades who can either do combat engineering or an artisan trade - in various roles from mechanised to light to air support to Commando to Airborne) or plant operators. At this stage you'll have the chance to volunteer for professional engineer training (PET - see below).

    As a PET volunteer, you'll then probably move on (for 12 to 18 months) to being a Squadron Operations Officer - organising training for a Squadron of about 150 guys in peacetime, and providing engineer advice to a Battle Group (approx 1000 men) on operations.

    Next you'll undertake a senior Captain appointment - 2IC of a Squadron, an Adjutant, or a Regimental Operations Officer... I won't go into the gruesome detail of what these involve, but this will be a 2 year tour.

    Finally, after 5 to 6 years, as a PET volunteer, you'll go on the PET course. This is an intensive 6 month (I think) course, followed by an 18 month attachment to a civilian engineering company. You can follow Civil or Electrical and Mechanical courses and, on successful completion, will be accepted for chartered membership of the Institution of Civil, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineers (as appropriate - this means that your degree needs to be accredited by the relevant institution - Civils, in your case).

    You'll then move into the 'specialised' bit of the Corps - the Infrastructure Support (Works Group) organisation mentioned above. You'll start as 2IC of a Specialist Team Royal Engineers (STRE), and will use your skills as a chartered engineer to provide specialist engineering advice to the armed forces. You'll then progress in the 'specialist' stream, although you will also be eligible for postings in the 'main' stream, if you're good enough.


    As a soldier, you'll be able to choose your trade when you join up (see The Construction Materials Technician trade is listed under the Design career stream - this is what it says:

    CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS TECHNICIAN - Ensures quality of building materials and environmental safety of construction sites. A Construction Materials Technician carries out a range of tasks and is the equivalent of a Construction Site Engineer, Control of Site Works and Ground Investigation and Soil Mechanic in the civilian world. You will work with, or on, concrete technology, bituminous materials, pollution surveys and geophysical investigations. Construction Materials Technicians provide critical design information during construction tasks and test materials such as soil, rock, cement, concrete, bitumen and tar. It’s a varied job and you will occupy a pivotal role in the construction team since people are depending on your knowledge and judgment.

    You'll also be trained as a combat engineer, so you'll be involved in tasks like demolitions, bridging, watermanship etc. Your training will be in 3 phases - Phase 1 (basic soldier training), Phase 2a (combat engineer training), and Phase 2b (construction materials technician training). It's likely that your first posting will be to a 'main stream' unit - although you may still get involved in some trade work if your unit is tasked with a construction exercise. After 5 years, you may find yourself posted to an STRE, where you will help to provide the technical backup to the Professionally Qualified Engineer officers (PQEs).

    If you're deemed suitable, you could apply for the Clerk of Works stream (after 5 or so years). This will give you fast-track promotion to SNCO, and technical training in the Civil, Mechanical, or Electrical fields - enabling you to provide more technical support to a PQE, or be posted to a 'main stream' unit as their primary source of technical advice. I'm not sure whether this leads to EngTech or IEng membership of ICE/IEE/IMechE.


    If you've made it this far, well done!

    The short answer to your initial question is this: it isn't possible to serve as a geologist in the army, but your degree will be useful (with some additional training) in either an officer or soldier career in the Royal Engineers.

    I commend the RE ( and Army Careers ( websites to you - have a good browse, and then follow the instructions in the 'take it further' sections if you feel it's for you.
  7. really F_B :?: :roll: :?: :roll:
  8. If the Army is for you:

    With a degree (and the usual caricature traits of students) you should endeavour to join as an officer. The earning potential is significantly more and the level of responsibility climbs rapidly.

    If you already have a Geology degree and are considering the military, you should try the Royal Engineers first. Geology is poorly represented and is required as an engineering discipline however you should be prepared to work hard. With this type of degree, entry as a PQE would be a good starting point. However you will need to be exceptionally strong in being able to pick up new information as the PQE course is wide ranging and Geology is only a small part. At the end you can work on becoming charted.

    Dependent on how your career pans out you could be the OC of an STRE in 10 to 14 years and the climb to Red tab level is quick for those who excel. My best advice would be “work on your man management” PQE officers often fail in this key area at the detriment of the Lads. Being a good man manager and grasping problems quickly and coming up with good sound results. It is far better than having a brain the size of a planet and a personality you can fit in a matchbox.

    Also you can give it a try and leave if you don’t like it. Always good to say “my last job was as an Army Officer” (instant credibility with civilian employers)
  9. you must have had it easier than me whiskey, I got employment as a junior QS as soon as I left and spent 6 months looking for a suitable post. The world was not my oyster.
  10. I don't like the sound of having to wait 6 years before I get to specialise. What is the PQE?

    Thanks for all the answers so far it's given me a lot to think about.
  11. PQE is Professionally Qualified Engineer. Basically what we call officers who become chartered engineers or surveyors.

    You have to spend about five years as an officer in the corps before you can go for these courses. You'll be doing a wide variety of soldiering, combat engineering and construction, but won't be using your geology degree much.

    Occasionally officers go straight into a survey squadron, but you shouldn't join if you ONLY want to do survey.

    Army engineering is a great job, but it's more about making something work under pressures of time and resources than about scientific planning.

    Basically - join to lead soldiers on combat engineering tasks, and not to further your geology skills. After five years doing this you can come back to your degree if you still want.

    I was a bit worried about joining the army and not using my degree fully - looking back now it was the best decision I ever made. Academics become less important the further away from university you get.
  12. This quote gives me the impression that your heart isn't really in it. If you join up you may have to go 'all the way' to Iraq....

    FFS you need to be dedicated in this job (and prepared to travel).
  13. That was for the TA, I have no problem relocating for a permanent position or travelling anywhere for that matter.

    whyohwhy, thanks for the info on PQE.
  14. The juniors in all of the usual places are looking for young geos (don't know about the majors). If you're unwilling to spend time in the bush that's another matter, mind.

    Edit: In the last fifteen years I've been with a good number of people in their 20s, of whom at least three made serious discoveries on their own (Tanzania and Zim), and have probably done more since I left them. All of them are now past their Masters' and all are now well up the ladder in the industry. They didn't get there by buggering about in an army.

    Edit again ...and Equatorial Guinea...
  15. Unlucky. Be a civvy, then.