Modern CIS Systems, is there a future for Techs?

Discussion in 'Royal Signals' started by Zorro, May 10, 2005.

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  1. With the introduction of modern CIS systems (Bowman/Cormorant(?) and FALCON) is there a requirement for technicians anymore?

    Surely most eqpt now has modern BITE which diagnosis a fault, and more often than not the eqpt is swapped one for one. Major eqpt failures are sent back to the manufacturer for repair under warrenty, not the traditional ERV or wksp.

    Is the future a single Maintainer/Operator CEQ? We have a significant surplus of Class 3/2 techs now, do we need any more? Should these, no doubt very high calibre people, be re-traded now?

    And no this is not a tech bashing email, as much as that goes against every fibre in my operator body :wink:
  2. We do have too many! and we now have some advanced technical equipements (well hopefully soon!), all the more reason to keep hold of technicians. We may also need operator/maintainers - as with all the jobs in our corps they change from unit to unit. I cannot see the requirement for technicians vanishing - their trade group will just further evolve.

    Managing the surplus will be the interesting part.

    I'm no tech wessle either.
  3. The problem as i see it is the knee jerk reaction. Yes the kit is covered by warranty at the moment but that's gonna run out. Operatror/maintainer sounds like a fine idea until this moment then the corps realises they've left themselves in the sh!t again. Stop training techs and you've got a big problem in 5 years time. Keep training techs and you've got a problem now. Solving the situation is going to require some outstanding management skills.

    I really wish it wasn't happening in the signals though :roll:
  4. I agree with the comments above and as a tech myself I have questioned my future. I am going to be a class one in 3 months (hopefully) and I along with other systems and radio techs may find ourselves in a bit of a rut initially. When all the new digitised systems finally come into service then i will have to retrain on those equipments which is no problem. I also envisage having to do some basic operator training. However, after speaking to a TOT at my last unit, techs will be required quite a lot. A comment was made about equipment having BITE tests. These will not be exhaustive in there fault diagnosis and apparently it will be a technician job to further investigate particular modules that require replacing. The good old radio tech of the last few years have been doing this with clansman kit.

    So I dont see our jobs being too much different to what they are now. An operatot maintainer would take a lot of trade training time and the corps does not want training to take more than a year.

    If anyone else has some input as to what they have been told by line managers or Supervisors, I would be grateful to hear it.

    As we all know, people get told things from different units.
  5. 23C

    23C Clanker

    I feel that the ‘pure’ Technician trade will die off but along with the Tech a whole bunch of others will go; RS Op, Dvr Elec and RS Dvr.

    With the introduction of Bowman the role of the Operator as we know it is defunct. The programmability and ‘plug and play’ nature of the system negates a swath of trade training. Along with the introduction of the new communication systems we have the low-level maintenance generators, from the small generators for the FFR’s to the large complex power suppliers, the latter having built-in bit testing and diagnostics.

    The way I see the Operator trade evolving is that he/she will hold both B+E and C+E licences, be trained in generator maintenance and be proficient in setting up and operating the communications equipment. This would be the B3 operator.

    On completion of their B1 the operator would be able to service and maintain the larger generators plus hold further communication skill such as LAS manager.

    With regards to Technicians, there will still be a need for this trade but it will be incorporated into the Installation Tech trade. The main role for this Tech would be to act as a 2nd line technician used to, once the manufacturer’s maintenance contract has ran out, to repair, replace, bench test and software uplift the main equipments. Sqn’s will also hold a minimal technical manning purely for the re-rolling and fitting of cabling within the vehicles.

    The IS ops will take the place of the Techs as the ‘Hated Trade’….Freeking Geeks! :)

    23C +
  6. Some good comments there 23c, there is much talk about operator/installer and other changes within the Corps.

    However commercialisation of equipment, systems and solutions is nice in the short term and in barracks while it is all shiny and new but believe me when I say this kit at some point or other will fail. The Totty will not sit back and say, "snooks pop that in the post young chap" and wait for his 3 weeks turn around. They may not be able to dial up the "helpline" etc

    No he will scream blue murder and his Techs will rip the kit apart REGARDLESS of demarkation lines, or contract penalties and fix it. We are after all the Royal Signals, WE deliver capability not bloody British Aerospace and Paradigm!!

    So lets not be too quick in saying we no longer needs Techs, it is a falsehood. We needed them before we need them now and we will need them in the future. Of course certain aspects of what they do will change but in principle the Technician is here to stay.
  7. 23C

    I understand where you are coming from but.... How long does it take to train someone to maintain a large generator. How long would this add to the Class 1. With no real background in generator maitenance, could they do this.

    I do not like engines, if I did I would have joined the REME or become a ED (or what ever they are called). These gene's are complicated. Require daily maint, not just - fuel check, oil check, switch gene.
  8. We ain't gonna have FALCON for at least 5 or 6 years. By that time Techs and Geeks will be amalgamated. The ivory towers have decided already, so let's just accept it and move on. They might as well start cross training in advance - meaning the corps can partly offset the shortage of geeks by employing surplus techs in geeky LSNs.

    I like a healthy rivalry between Corps, Regts and trade groups - but the main reason that people have had a grudge against techs in the past is cos they got promoted straight out of training. No one likes to see a sprog getting promoted before them, hence the animosity. I do feel, however, that many of the geek fraternity have a bit of a superiority complex and chip on their shoulder - I bet none of them will tell you they went IS because it seemed an easy option to take, but it's true in a (cue Cilla Black voice) lorra lorra cases.

    From a recent presentation I attended, the top brass view is that Sys Engr Tech and IS Engr will combine to become the ICS Engr. Inst Tech and ED will be combined into an as yet unnamed trade something along the lines of "Infrastructure Engr". RS and AS Ops will become ICS Operator. The other trades (driver and storeman) will be left as G4 close support assets.
  9. I became an IS Geek because I like working with IT. Plain and simple. Nothing to do with finding it an easy trade.

    I certainly didn't do it for promotion as I would have easily been promoted in my old trade of Class 1 Sys Op by now. IS Engr promotion is at a stand still because they let so many other cap badges cross into the trade at high level, however I enjoy my job and don't winge about it like some on this forum.

    In the end you are what you are. If you don't like it, tough titty, either put up or shut up.
  10. There'll always be a place for Techs, as there will be a place for Ops, Drivers, Storemen and EDs (whatever each trade may be called at the time). The current (Ptarmigan/Clansman) Tech course is 9 months long (without actually teaching Class 3s about the kit they'll be working on - they get sent back from their units to do that), the Operator course is a few months long too. Any future equipment will be correspondingly more complicated to fix (all that modern technology that makes it easier for an Op to work, makes it harder for us to fix), so the Tech course will get more difficult. I can't see the Corps wanting to keep kids at Blandford on a 16 - 18 month long course before they get to their working unit, so I can't see them amalgamating the Tech/Op trades just yet.

    Although, with the forward planning that's been shown on trades in the past, anything could happen.
  11. Good healthy debate I love it :)

    Few pointers though, how many Bowman ERVs will the Corp have (rhetorical question that one) and how many will the REME have? What exactly will 'our' techs fix, hardware or software. I believe the latter, therefore are they not IS Engrs?

    I think you will find we end up with a 'slice of Falcon' before 5 - 6 years (as its all we can afford!)

    I agree with Cardinal Sin and should start re-trading/cross trg our tech surplus now, giving people realistic careers paths.

    Also IS Engrs make a good brew with a little trg :wink:
  12. How? by forcing them into other trades with tiny rosters?

    Remember Techs have one of the biggest rostas at all ranks with one of the better career paths available.

    Once again the Corps is working a "quick fix" which is how we ended up with so many Techs in the first place.
  13. You're absolutely right. This is still going on and it must stop. I know a few folks who have entered the roster at SNCO level and I feel gutted for the quality blokes who are "above the quality line" on the promotion board but can't get selected because someone else has been let in to take a vacancy. There are also people who have chosen to go IS because, at the last minute, they don't want to go FofS/YofS. Or, even worse, they have attended selection and been rejected. If someone is not good enough to progress in their own trade, do you think that they should get this opportunity for a second bite at the cherry in a brand new trade where there are already significant bottlenecks?

    I suspect that most people would be happy letting in a lot of the 400 surplus T2 techs, but not SNCOs techs and operators who are not in an operational pinch-point.

    Disco - presumably the tiny roster is the IS one? Remember that it is currently massively understrength and due to expand significantly. I don't seen it as forcing them into a smaller trade but just widening the scope of the two trades. It does allow us a lot of flexibility to employ people according to operational requirements as well as in line with their hands-on performance when working with different technologies.

    Interested to hear your views on the surplus blokes - they're very expensive apparently.

  14. PD, I was meaning more towards Inst Tech and ED route with a dash of IS. Other trades can only absorb so many Cpls and to be honest in the 2 trades I just mentioned they would have a negative impact on career prospects of siggy to LCpls who are also trying to move upwards.

    We had this when the TeleMech expanded to Inst Tech, suddenly Cpls from every other badge and trade jumped across. All with "walk on water" recommendations from their previous CO. In reality however they fudged through training and apart from a minority have sat at Cpl ever since.

    The IS roster I presume is going through the same state of flux but when the dust settles how many of said retrade Cpls will still be Cpls?

    As for the expense of employing these Cpls if it is a numbers game then the Corps should adjust its manning accordingly, ah but that just isnt cricket you say!, however by simply moving a Tech Cpl left or right of arc does not suddenly make the cost dissapear. What you have to do is block vacant slots of other trades and fill them with Tech Cpls. Bingo however the career foul has just shifted down the ladder but now the problem is under the carpet. Tough times ahead for LCpls and below!!

    Anyway we have gone off topic (as usual) There is future for Techs (there back on track!)
  15. Being a tech 'weener' myself, i can see why it can be frustrating as we seemed to get promoted from cornflake packets. Well you'll be interested to know that tech's no longer get promoted from lcpl to cpl simply by passing their class 2's and being recommended, they also now have to have passed their class 1 entrance exam as well!

    This is one of mcm divs policy's to get rid of the excess, which is mainly at the class 2 full screw level.

    Any class 2 full screw tech will, around the end of june be offered to transfer to another trade in the corps or to transfer arms.

    This is voluntary for now but apparently if there is still a problem in 2 years time may become a forced transfer!

    I personally think its a good idea, get rid of those waster class 2's who have absolutely no ambition whatsoever!

    After all who joined the army to sit and make brews all day, ending up only flitting between 2 different units for their whole career?