RE Survey Officer Career

Discussion in 'Sappers' started by Finck, Mar 22, 2010.

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  1. Hi guys,

    I'm interested in a career with the RE as a survey officer and I'd be very grateful for any advice or information you can offer, particularly with regard to the following questions:

    From what I've read it seems that the two options are topographical surveying and engineering surveying - is this correct?

    The officer careers brochure makes reference to the opportunity to become a chartered surveyor. Is chartered status widely achieved, and which institute is it with? I'm studying a master's degree which is RICS accredited - will that be relevent to the RE?

    Do they require particular academic backgrounds or would specific training be provided assuming I met the standard to join the RE at RMAS?

    Would a topographical surveyor would spend more time practising their trade than an engineering surveyor, based on the fact that there is a dedicated geographic unit?

    Is it possible to choose a unit to join or is it pot luck as to where you are assigned once you complete training?

    Finally, when talking about specific units are they pronounced as a single number or two seperate numbers (e.g. "four - two" regiment or "forty two" regiment)?

    Thanks in advance
  2. It is four two Geo regiment.

    What degree are you doing? 42 Geo Regt is about terrain mapping, battlespace analyis & imagery. Certainly not building surveying.

    Doing your Masters will help you, we do have a Professional Qualified Officer route for CEng for civil, mechanical and electrical engineering although I'm not sure if MRICS and an MSc would meet the entry criteria because normally they (the Professional Engineer Wing) prefer you to have either a BSc or a BEng in civil, structural, mechanical or electrical engineering. That said, in a recent Sapper Telegraph or Royal Engineers Journal (can't remember which) there was an article about PQE selection and training. The gist was that the PEW need to be more flexible when it came to applicants qualifications so you may be in luck.

    Non geo surveyers, in the sense that you are talking about, are what civvies call site engineers. They are well trained and qualified. We don't have a specific QS or building surveyor trade within the Corps, this was axed in the mid 1960's. Clerk of Works (Construction) tend to do most of the traditional QS stuff along with building inspections. Again, Clerk of Works in the Royal Engineers are a lot different to civvy ones who only do site QA.
  3. Hi Plant_Life,

    Thanks very much for providing such a comprehensive reply to my questions. My undergrad degree is in finance (so I'm almost certain it's completely irrelevent) and my MSc is in quantity surveying. Although I know this isn't a recognised discipline in the RE my course has encompassed CAD, BIM and construction technology modules which should be of some use.

    I don't think I'm eligible for the PQO route because I haven't completed the course yet or started the APC. What I'm interested in doing is getting into the RE on one of the surveyor routes and then using the RICS accreditation from my QS course to enter the relevent faculty and get chartered status. I don't mind paying my APC and RICS membership fees if necessary but I do want to reach chartered status. I don't have my heart set on a career as a QS so I've got no problem moving into another area if the option is there.

    I went to my local AFCO to ask about surveying opportunities about a month ago and was told that they didn't have any information about it and that my MSc meant that I was unsuitable for soldier training (where I'd noticed surveying as a dedicated trade) so my details were passed to officer recruitment. As a result I've got an interview in a month's time but I'd like to try and get things straight in my head before then.

    Anyway, once again, thanks for your help!!
  4. There's a number of possible routes open to you.

    1. Soldier entry - unusual with a higher level degree, but it shouldn't rule it out. You could join as a Military Engineer (Surveyor), where you would be involved in setting out and controlling line & level etc across a task site. However, outside some of the more technical areas of the Corps, this is not a skill that gets used very much, and you might go for aeons without using it. This job could take you anywhere in the Corps. From here, you could follow the Clerk of Works career stream, but this would take quite a few years before you're eligible to apply for it, and I don't think many of them get chartered status.

    2. Also soldier entry - you could join as a Geo Tech - not related to surveying in the line & level sense, rather it's about production of mapping, terrain analysis etc. Some of the CAD skills and such would probably come in useful (though I admit to not knowing a huge amount about this). These guys are concentrated at 42 Engr Regt, in Hermitage, with regular opportunities for tours throughout the world.

    3. Officer entry - following Sandhurst (12 mths), the Royal Engineer Troop Commanders' Course (RETCC - 7 mths) and a tour as a Troop Commander (approx 2 years), you could look at going down the Professionally Qualified Engineer route. This could either take you towards CEng status if you focus on the construction and building side of it (check if your MSc would make you eligible - as plant_life says, it might or might not), or there is the chance to go down the Geo side by doing the year long Masters in Defence Geographic Analysis. Although they prefer some background in geography-type stuff, it's not essential. Again, if you followed the Geo route, that would largely (but not totally) tie you to Hermitage.

    Feel free to ask any other questions!


    edit - if you're dead set on chartered status, the other possible route is as an officer in the REME, so long as your degree is sufficiently 'technical' - you'll be able to check this at your officer career interview.
  5. Finck,

    Don't worry about your degree not being engineering or construction related. Suprisingly enough the Royal Engineers don't insist on an engineering or construction related qualification for its officers, unlike the REME who I think are very picky about the qualifications their officers have. Do you want to finish your MSc before your join up or pick it up once you have finished training? I certainly wouldn't worry about not having started the APC, that certainly wouldn't proclude you from applying. Most PQE students only worry about getting IEng status when they start their course. The PQE civils course involves 6 months at Chatham doing a mixture of civil and structural engineering and project management modules followed by an 18 month secondment to either the US Corps of Engineers or a civilian engineering firm. You will spend 9 months as a designer and 9 months as a project manager. You then come back to Chatham to do a report on your attachment and do your professional interviews to gain CEng status. You get an MSc from the PQE course.

    As a PQE you are not permenantly tied down to 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group or Deputy Commander Royal Engineers (Airfields). Being a PQE does not stop you getting normal Sqn or Regt command appointments. It just opens up a lot more oppertunities for you. Each Specialist Team Royal Engineers has an Officer Commanding position. As a CEng Major this means there are more command posts available for you.

    If you went don't the tradesman then Clk Wks route you would look at around the 8 to 10 year point before applying and spending 2 years on course. There is a top up degree now which you can start once you have done an HND or foundation degree through a military trade course. This takes about 2 years and you end up with a BEng. At the moment these degrees are accrediated by any of the relevent institutions such as CIOB, RICS, IMechE etc although this may change as the Professional Engineer Wing and the Uni of Greenwich sort things out.

    I can only speak for the Clk Wk (C)'s but those of us who do go on to get MCIOB status either go down the experienced practioner route or do a degree through the CEM as their Construction Management, Building Surveying and QS degrees are all accredited. At the moment not that many Clk Wks have got chartered status. The reason behind that is to do with money. The Army will not pay for fees unless your appointment requires it. As a PQE your fees are paid if you are in a CEng position. It is very frustrating because if you go into the jobs specs for Clk Wks it states quite clearly at SSgt level "should be aimming for incorporated status" and at WO1/Capt level "should be aimming for chartered status". Well that's great but what is the Army going to do when you have reached that level? Fcuk all obviously, nothing like IiP! Again, this is being reviewed so things may change.
  6. Hi Smithie,

    Thanks for the info you've given me - the Geo Officer route sounds like it'd fit quite well with what I'm looking for. Do you have any experience with Geotech yourself? I think I could qualify for the RICS Geospatial faculty if I went with that idea, which would qualify me for chartered status at my own expense. Plus, I'm not adverse to the idea of doing another degree if it's available - just no more 100% uni based courses!!

    Also, very grateful to Plant_Life for the follow-up post. In answer to your question I'm most of the way through the MSc now so I'm going to see it through to the end, and I'm also going to use the time to the end of the course to get fully prepared and ready for an army career if it's on the cards.

    The PQE idea is food for thought - I hadn't considered the possibility of moving toward engineering. It's definitely something worth mentioning in my interview, so thanks!!
  7. I'm afraid I don't - I'm a 'normal' RE officer and not any sort of conehead! Your best bet on finding out more about the Geo course is, again, to raise it at your interview and then again when you go on a familiarisation visit to the Corps - the recruiting staff are pretty swept up and will have answers to any questions.

    Do be aware that both the normal PQEs (ie, the traditional engineering types) and the Geo PQEs are quite long-term career plans - you'll probably do 4-5 years before going off to do the course, which is either 1 or 2 years, and then after that, you're committed for another few years. If you have any questions about any other aspects of the Corps/recruiting etc, do ask.

  8. Really good info there plant life. Which of the courses is specific to the Surveyor trade? is it all under Clerk of Works courses?
  9. There should be a pageon the RE website and a PDF document which explains more about the surveyors course. CheggarsRE is a surveyor so he should be able to give you more info that I can.

    Any trade (less driver, armoured, signaller and res spec) can apply for the Clerk of Works courses within reason. Obviously for Clk Wks (Electrical) you have to either be a sparky or E & M draughty and that's it. POMs can apply for Clk Wks (C), Clk Wks (M) and MPF so they have the best range of choices. I'm not sure how fitters or welders would get on with applying for C, I think they would be pushed towards M.
  10. Is that right? I was under the impression that only C or MPF was available.

    Sorry for the thread hijack.
  11. That is correct. I believe that the top Clk Wks (M) student in 2004 was a POM. Not for me though, you have to be a proper maths pervert to be a Clk Wks (M).
  12. I know the course that finished Dec 03(Course No54), included a POM who came top but that geek was only on the course by virtue of being a Well Driller (Tech trade), well, that and the fact that he's an awesomely good egg.

    Good call on the Maths perversity though, every subject is just maths cunningly disguised by giving it a different name.
  13. Blodders, it is plant operator MECHANIC so apparently we have the option. I would rather have my testicles stamped on repeatedly than be an M. Far too much maths and theoretical shite for me.
  14. Ok OK, I'll fess up, the geeky coneheid POM who came top was me! The reason I queried your statement was that when I applied I was told at interview that it was only the WD trade that gave me the right to apply. Of course this may have changed now (and they may have been bulsh**ting me then). Thinking back, I wouldn't be surprised if they were trying to put me off by going on about how technically demanding it was etc. I'll be honest, I found the course itself a piece of pi**, but then the SMI for most of our course was a bit slack, none of the "asking permission to go to the mess" crap for us Ms, we always got the crumpets first!