REME VM- Repair from basic principles

Discussion in 'REME' started by findlay, Nov 4, 2008.

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  1. It seems to be the growing REME culture that in order to repair a piece of equipment you need to have passed through the relevant equipment course at Bordon.

    What has happened to repairing kit using the basic principles taught on our trade courses?

    I can remember as a young Class 3 VM being handed a job and being allowed to get on with it under the watchful eye of my section Cpl. After 6 months of working on the kit I was awarded a spec qual. Why do we no longer do this?

    I understand that now and again there is a need for training on specific test equipments such as on DROPS and MAN SV but generally speaking most vehicles are fundamentally the same.

    Is the reason for the increased need for equipment courses spawned by the fact that we no longer deliver sufficient training at class 3, 2 and 1 levels in order to provide the basic building blocks of engineering and allow the tradesmen to think outside the box? Should this not be our main focus as an engineering corps, I would suggest yes as I believe with the correct foundations a tradesman could repair anything.

    Another issue which would further compound the problem is phasing out our trade specific Tiffies. Tiffy unspec??? Surely part of a tiffies job spec, (first paragraph of Corps instruction E5), is to fill gaps in knowledge of their troops?

    A sound artisan would able to assist in this a great deal, however up to recently where has he received his training, equipment courses? I would argue not.

    I won’t bleat on anymore, please comment.
  2. Not being in yet, this is just me making some blind assumptions so feel free to rip this apart, but could it be in this society where blame has to be firmly placed and law suits followed through, that the MOD are just covering arrses?
    If you've not been trained on it, don't do it, so when it fcuks up, it aint your fault?
    I'd assume that many of the guys with a solid understanding of the fundamentals would be able to learn and teach themselves how to do a fair bit, they just can't/won't to stay outta trouble.
  3. There is only one way to learn...... and thats the hard way!

    since when does an equipment course make you good at what you do?... It takes practice to make you a good mechanic (fitter!), not daft qualifications!

    I went from working on this

    To working on / building This with practically no training.


    All the principals are the same.... its just a different shape!
  4. This has come around because we no longer teach our soldiers to repair by repair...we now repair by replacement. On T8, I surprised one of my Lance Jack VMs when I repaired a battery terminal with solder using a spare battery lead clamp that was hiding in the corner of my toolbox as a mould/forming guide.

    He was going to low loader the vehicle back to A2 then renew the battery..feck that, fix it, drive it back then fit a new battery when the repair fails. (It hadn't failed a year later when I dekitted :) ).

    I have taken on new staff at work now, (overhauling trains) and despite them being switched on engineers, they are not allowed to sign off any jobs that require torque tightening as they have not yet passed our company competency assesment..ffs
  5. Sympathetic_Reaction

    Sympathetic_Reaction LE Book Reviewer

    Hate to break it to you but this is everywhere....

    I've been in a company where the designer of a piece of equipment wasn't allowed to operate it when installed on the vehicle because - 'He hadn't passed the operators course' - the fact that he had designed the kit and written the course didn't matter, he still needed to sit through 6 hours of his own course to qualify to operate the kit.!!!

    Welcome to the wonderful world where 'engineer' is a rude word and 'qualified' means how many bits of paper do you have.

  6. I appreciate the legislation that is there in order to protect individuals from harm etc, but surely the fitter section Tiffy can monitor an individual’s progression. Control measures such as stage inspections by class ones and jobs only being signed off by them on completion should be suffice.

    Also what about the OC LAD's responsibility as a Eng O, surely it ultimately falls to him via the advice given by the Tiffy and ASM to "sign off" soldiers as competent? What engineering responsibilities do they currently have, I thought we were an engineering corps. Surely it comes within his remit to make a decision as to whether his troops are deemed competent?
  7. We have been in the same situation regarding our new .338 rifles, we first enquired if there were courses starting soon so we could become "qualified" on them. No courses so a quick call to IPT and we are just following the inspection standards in the AESP using our previous knowledge from the L96. Well we will be doing, when I can be bothered actually inspecting them. :)
  9. M_M, I thought the comment about the Eng O might provoke a response, your giggles are justified. I was beginning to wonder that due to the lack of response no one cared about the direction our Corps is going.

    You made a comment on Cfn being promoted early even though they did not show any aptitude for the trade in which they were trained. On that note here is some radical thinking.

    I agree this does happen but it is not the fault of the soldier but rather the way in which we report on them.

    I believe that in the early part of their career, prior to class one training our tradesmen should only be reported on and graded with the emphasis being on their trade ability. I believe by doing this we could change the way in which our junior tradesmen think and give them a clear message that if you are a poor tradesmen, you won't promote quickly, thus instilling a willingness to learn their trade.

    To be honest in order to promote to LCpl most Cfn only have to have adequate trade ability. When writing SJARs too much emphasis is placed on the other activities they have done outside their trade such as organising a function or playing sport. I admit that in order to bring about this change then there has to be a change to the information contained in an SJAR, which won’t be easy to change. We all know how hard it is to write a report on the guy who is a brilliant tradesmen but doesn't do a lot else.

    If I was to be perfectly honest I don’t really care how good a craftsman is at playing football or organising activities, this is nif naf and trivia, but I do care about his ability to add value to a fitter section or repair platoon. The only way he can add true value from an engineering perspective is to have aptitude at his trade. A minimum level of aptitude can be developed at the early stages of an individuals career, after he is class one it’s a lost cause. If we are promoting based on the fact a REME soldier can organise a function then this haemorrhaging of poor tradesmen will continue and ultimately destroy the reputation of our Corps.

    Before I finish, I do not want to open the soldiers first tradesmen second debate. That has been well and truly hammered and is not the point of this post. We must always consider their soldiering ability in order to deem them competent to protect themselves while on operations. This too must be emphasised in SJAR but all the other “Nif Naf” I alluded to earlier, lets not consider that until post class one when we should be looking for more rounded individuals.
  10. Going back a few years now but the Cr requirements your alluding to used to be a fixture for Cfn's. You did not get a Cr until you proved capable as a tradesman. You just got a report, which was not seen by the board. Can't remember the Army form number. The tiffies would not even look at you for promotion until you were recommended for personal review by him, from your section Sgt. Then you were scrutinised for a few months, usualy ended up the Tiffy bus driver. If the Tiff then thought you capable he wrote a Cr. I also recall the words of wisdom from both my Sect Sgt and Cpl. Concentrate on being good at your job first. The rest of the crap you can do once you have got your first stripe.

    Which to my way of thinking should still be the way. Not the "Your trade abilities only count for 1/4 of your Cr so ensure you have something for your OC to put in the other 3/4".

    Three years from trade training was considered a normal time frame to be considered for promotion. As you put, too many get a Cr written and due to 3/4 of it being about what a top cricket player and a future Corp footie star a chap is. We end up with a numpty who could not change a wheel competently let alone diagnose and repair an intermitant gear change on a CV8.

    Or the best one I've seen yet. A young Cfn who was incapable of maintaining his own toolbox. On an op tour he had no tools in the thing. His confidence levels were shockingly poor and his trade skills so poor it was tempting to recommend he was sent back to Bordon to re do his basic trade quals again. He came to us on posting so had done two years from trade. The Cfn to Lcpl board results came out not long after he arrived and he picked up. Along with several other useless mongs. Our chain of command actualy tried to delve into who, how and why a CR was written on this plonker. No results from M@R other than the board were satisfied the soldier had made the quality line so the promotion stood.

    I always thought the Co could defer a promotion if he felt the soldier did not deserve it. I guess it was too much effort to deny the useless git the promotion.

    Sucks don't it.
  11. M_M excellent posts, totally agree with your sentiments.

    Cfn IIRC were not meant to get a CR for 3 yrs after getting to a unit unless:

    1. they were extremely good and warrented a CR to put them on the board or;
    2. They had been on an Op Tour

    This was the case when i was a Cfn anyways (93 ish)

    Section Cpl's not being what they were, again totally agree.... but what system tell me now, has a guy coming off his Class 1 course as a full Cpl???

    You need at least 1-2 yrs as a Class 1 Lance Jack to get some experience under your belt... straight to Cpl after class 1 is something that the vast majority do not have the experience or skill to pull off properly.

    (All spoke from a VM's Point Of View tho)
  12. "These days too many fail, fail again and keep failing but still pass courses. People who clearly do not have the aptitude for the line of work expected are now pushed onto field units. All in the name of filling manning levels."
    Quote from M-M
    they do it with tiffys so why not with craftys???
  13. Ah, I did not want to venture into the tiffy debate but as you raised the point.... We cannot afford for our Cfn's to start of at a low level, or else we will end up with tiffies who are even less capable of carrying out their role than they are now (oh listen to all those sharp intakes of breath and prepares for a volley of girly tiffy squeals).

    Maybe someone high up has already twigged to this. Hence the supposed change to future tiffy courses. Not so much non trade specific. More a realisation they could not bluff there way in trade anyway so why not dump the trade skill part. Going back a few years, yes a tiffy could actualy hold his own within his trade. Also he could fulfil the job spec. I'm sure it used to say " An artificer will conduct all class one inspections" in their job specs. Now? Yeah whatever.

    Still enough on tiffy bashing, back to repair from basic. Whos to blame for the demise in basic skill levels now? Blame Bordon and the blinkered follow the party line command element, says standards have not dropped and actualy they are higher now than ever. Must be true as all the new bods get a shedfull of quals when they leave. Allowing a civvi company who gets paid per head rather than quality of training, that was a top idea.

    So, if the above is not the reason do we blame the generation now for being less than we were? I dont think so. Its still the same raw material, just the way we train and approach training these days has changed.

    Now heres a reaction causing comment to try if you have the balls. Next time the DEME(A) or someone of his ilk drops by and tries to engage a debate. Ready?

    Have our standards and expectations dropped since we allowed females into the trade groups? Is there a correlation to the qualities and basic abilities of tradesmen dropping to the time females entered the Corp?

    An uncomfortable pair of questions in these days of enlightenment and equality for sexes.

    If that one gets quickly shot down and answered as being ridiculous, try:

    Have the perceived standards and quality levels of training, dropped since moving away from former teaching practacises at Bordon to what we have now? Why does the field force up to regimental level feel their is a shortfall in the standards and abilities of tradesmen leaving training yet higher levels refuse to accept there are problems?

    Either set of questions will probably get ripped into and rapidly dropped if you try them. I know but it was fun watching the reactions of those I dropped them on.

    ArmySurplusSpecial Brought a good point out. Young tradesmen coming straight of their class one courses promoted to Cpl. It also happened way back in the late 80's and early 90's but was very rare and that person was usualy something special (usualy they had trade quals before joining the army, served an apprentaship in civvi street etc).

    Now its all to common to see them coming out of the factory with two stripes, some actualy get in there with two stripes to begin with.

    The argument is, how the hell are they going to be any use as a section Cpl. They need the seasoning of a year or two at least to gain the experience and confidence to be a decent Cpl.

    So are we promoting too early? Probably but if we dont then how do we keep anyone in the Corps. The advantages of trade pay were blown thanks to paycut 2000. Promotion in other Corps or regiments can be far quicker for someone with half a brain. Especialy if they start twigging the trade quals are fairly useless in civvi street.

    Have we created a vicious downward spiral that may eventually spell the end of the Corp? I personally feel we have and if its not recognised and reacted to we are fuc@ed. Well those of you still serving will be anyway.

    Whistles away as he awaits on the the chain yanking comments to be condemned, refuted and denied. :muhaha:
  14. I thought M_M was going OK until that last post. Some fairly reasoned arguments but it has all come crashing down with the rolling out of the old chestnuts of Females in the Corps (note: The singular of Corps is Corps) and Tiffys.
    I agree with the main part of your argument that standards have dropped and that we promote too early, however there is no requirement to drag females and Tiffys into your opinions.
    This is for 2 reasons:
    1. Females were enabled to join REME after the standards had started to drop.
    2. Tiffys have always been derided by those who didn't make it or chose not to make it.

    I am now in a fortunate position to be in a sister Corps that doesn't have Artisans, everyone above Sgt is considered an Artificer as thay all do the same course. I can report with confidence that the world has not fallen off it's axis. This leads me to the conclusion that we don't really need 2 streams in REME, get rid of Artisans and be done with it, if you want to be a SSgt or WO, do the course and crack on. This also means doing away with tiffy selection, tiffy training weekends and all that other crap we had to go through.
  15. Don't want to jump on the "I agree with ...." band wagon but I agree with :D Nige. Some very good points made until the girlies & tiffies bit was thrown in the pot.

    Nige makes a very good point on the training of our more senior tradesmen. I've said to many a person over the last 15 years including at least one DEME(A) - that after the Class 1 VM course all tradesmen should have the same opportunity to attend various levels of military based engineering management & leadership training which must be attended and passed within a specific time frame. (Money used to fund this could come from completely cutting the artificer course).

    Before being promoted to the next rank the board should have access to their course report to base their potential for promotion alongside their SJARS and against their peer group.