Questions about Metalsmith.


I am applying to join the British Army as a regular soldier. Role wise, I am interested in becoming a Metalsmith within the REME.

Searching these forums, I have found some valuable information. However, not all of the information or relevant forum replies are that recent (Within the last year or so). Because of this, I am not sure if the information I have found is still correct as it would appear that the Armed Forces are migrating through a few changes with an emphasis on recruiting reservists and slashing regular jobs.

If anyone on here has the time available, I would be very grateful if they could answer a few questions.

My first question concerns the similarity between certain roles and that of Metalsmith (Ignoring the Fabricator and Welding roles offered by the RE due to reasons mentioned elsewhere on this forum).

In short, I am aiming for the role of Metalsmith because (unsurprisingly) I have an interest in metal work and the relevant transferable skills and qualifications developed in that trade. Reading around however, the role of Shipwright is very similar to that of Metalsmith. The differences seem to be minor and feature around: the vehicles or vessels worked upon; the materials generally used and the 9-5 work schedule Shipwrights apparently adamantly stick to. Certain forum members have also recollected times where Shipwrights and Metalsmiths were used interchangeably and the official PDF guide to REME roles even groups the two together:

  • Therefore, are there any advantages such as in technical abilities or qualifications in being a Shipwright compared to that of a Metalsmith?

On other posts in this forum, people have spoken about applying for the role of Armourer, as if you could directly apply for the role from the get-go. It was suggested as it allows a direct progression to Artificer. And that there was no progression to it form the role of Metalsmith (You had to retrain before hand). Since there are similarities between the skills learned as an Armourer and Metalsmith, I have considering that role. However, I am unable to locate this role (Armourer) on the Army Role Finder

  • Therefore, has the role of 'Artificer' been split up into its different specialities (Vehicle, Weapons, Aircraft, Electronics, Avionics)?
  • And is the Weapons Artificer now the equivalent of the 'Armourer'? (Or perhaps, the British Army website is just hidding/has removed the role of 'Armourer' from their role finder.)

Assuming there is a promotion available (Wishful thinking from what I have read).
  • How does promotion work after the rank of Corporal for a Metalsmith, are you promoted to a different role such as an Artificer specialities?

With the constant budget cuts the Army is facing and it's diminishing size.
  • What would you say the survivability of Metalsmith as a role is likely to be (i.e. is it likely to be outsourced if not already)?

Thank you.
Hi there, lots of questions. Let me try and answer them as clearly as I can. Feel free to PM me if you want to chat or you want me to put you in touch with the REME Corps Engagement Team who have everything you need to know and more..

Firstly, I should say that we are working hard to recruit Reservists but we are also doing the same for Regular personnel. The Army needs a constant influx of new people to maintain whole Army strength as we pull people through their careers. So we are recruiting Regular personnel, so if you are up for it, capable of learning a trade and fit, there is a role for you.

The difference between the REME and the Royal Engineers is that, with REME your primary role is as a tradesman. In the Royal Engineers, first and foremost you are a Combat Engineer and only later in your career do you learn extra secondary skills that you may use from time to time. So if you want to be professional tradesman, join REME.

Re Shipwright or Metalsmith - the question is now irrelevant. REME is merging the two trades together. So you can join as a Metalsmith and if you serve with the Port and Maritime people then you will do extra training that will make you competent and working with vessels.

Armourer on the role finder is known as Weapon Systems Engineer - its a name that is used in recruiting as helps the understanding of new recruits. So look for Weapon System Engineer and it will tell you all you want to know about the Armourer role.

The Artificer is an engineering leader in REME. The opportunities to progress in rank quickest and furthest are in Artificer roles. You can only become an Artificer after 8 to 12 years service and additional training and you have to be selected for your leadership talent for this role. They are highly sought after. You are right about Artificer roles. There are five of them: Vehicles, Weapons, Aircraft, Avionics and Electronics). So if you want to be an Artificer and you start your career as a Metalsmith, you do need to re-trade into an Armourer or Vehicle Mechanic at some stage. If you are a hands on bloke who will always wants to be so you may be happiest as a Metalsmith. Your call.

Metalsmiths can promote through to SSgt in time and having merged the role with Shipwright there is a Warrant Officer post available too if you make it to the top. There is also scope to mix your trade with some military training work which will also enable you to promote to Warrant Officer. So if you join as a Metalsmith, you are certainly not limited to Cpl.

Metalsmiths is a strong trade which is needed in the operational arena - effecting repair on battle damaged equipment to get it back in the hands of the user will continue to need a man in green - the role will survive for many years yet.

Hope all this helps.

Latest Threads