Retention In The Corps

Discussion in 'Sappers' started by A_Knocker_Till_The_End, Mar 5, 2007.

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  1. well i am back from my winter holiday & have noticed the trouble that units within the corps are having with retaining sappers (all ranks).

    what do you think that we need to offer gentlemen of the corps to remain loyal & serve their country as so many of the people within this forum have done, with great pride.

    the blatantly obvious one of course is less time on ops.

    but how about some better qualifications (civilian recognised) for when you do actually leave the service.

    gentlemen of the corps, old & new, what would make you have stayed in longer ????

  2. I think if the corps valued you as a person it may help, too many backstabbers and jump over people to get a better cr types around.

    Tell ALC to f**ck off then i would have a job,

    Pay us what we are worth and stop going on about the x factor and finding ways of reducing what we get ie business insurance of up to £10m to claim mma!!

    Actually let us do what the adverts say, ie let people go adventure training and stop saying we can't afford it.

    Don't drop the standards of training just because there is a recruitment problem, why not concentrate on retention and the blokes with experience rather than people who are not even in yet

    Anyway, little rant :shakefist: over, look forward to the rest of the comments though :thumright:
  3. The actual level of qualification awarded for class 2 and class 1 trades has gone down rapidly in the last few years. We went from City and Guilds (respected qual) to NVQ (ok) to some random qualification for chippies and brickies. The HND has been scrapped from the ME Svy 1 course (why when the syllabus is the same), no qualification at all for ME POM 1 and NVQ assessor has been lost. I started off as an H & P but retraded 1/4 of the way into the course. One of the main reasons I retraded was because the qualifications were in a transition phase from City and Guilds to NVQ and the powers that be weren't sure if we would actually get any qualifications for the course. I certainly wasn't prepared to work my arrse off for 9 months for no recognition whatsoever. Tradesmen should be awarded the best qualifications they are entitled to and if the current syllabus is only a few TOs away from a good civvy qual these TOs should be included.
    A big aid to retention would be actually getting guys on courses that they want to go, not just the ones they are told to go on. Too often a guy is threaders because he/she isn't enjoying army life, signs off, goes for their interview with the OC only to be offered the worlds supply of good courses and good postings. This is b0llocks. People should not have to sign off to be given the things that they want. End of story!
    More chance to practice trade skills (not just on Telic or Herrick).
    Records actually listening to where you want to be posted rather than post you the other side of the world.
  4. I agree stop recruiting wasters who are thick as fcuk
    bring back T pay for us hard working full screw plant section commanders.
    Stop treating below full screws like gold dust and shitting on the rest.
    ALC bin em.
    Less back to back tours.
    Better adventure training or at least some i have done 4 weeks in 12 years.
    And stop the back stabbing and lets get back to having fun...
  5. one snow queen & one week in bavaria (88).

    that is the lot in coming on for 21 years.

    not the i am complaining, does not float my boat but i know of lads that like hill walking/climbing/etc & never get a chance to do any.
  6. 1. As said before, stuff retention. Quality over quantity. We want Sappers at the coalface, not whinging little cnuts who arent fit to wear the Uniform, let alone the Corps Stable Belt :frustrated: :pissedoff: :pissedoff:

    2. Get rid of ALC and let the mud muppets do their thang. Skill fade is a reality, not a buzz word..

    3. Give the tradesmen real jobs to do. Chippies, Plumbers, Brickies.. Give em a toolbox and let em get on with it. Im sure the other elements of the Army could do with help now and again.. 'Oh it's the civvies job.. contracts, blah blah blah..' Stuff that! They work for us as much as we work for them.. Skillfade again..

    4. Less back to back tours (Army in General) We are not required everywhere all the time. Let the RAF bomb a few places if the yanks need our support.. Get the navyto do a bit of long range shelling.. (skillfade??!)

    5. Bring back FD.
  7. Retention in the Corp

    I am sure that retention is suffering throughout the whole Corp but I restrict my comment to the Technical rosters as there are far more qualified chaps out there to comment on the Combat side of things.

    170 (Infra Sp) Engr Gp

    170 has grown too big too fast, How many teams are fully manned? How many CRE’s are fully staffed?. Shorthanded teams place significant burdens on staff, Lack of trained personnel of the correct discipline risk lives on operations. Until there is the personnel to fill all the posts in teams a critical decision needs to made about having viable teams rather than partially manned teams.

    People are voting with their feet because of this issue (Credible soldiers not the average man). The command has to know a point of un-stainable loss must be approaching.

    This is overstretch at its very worst and its effects are being felt worldwide. Personnel just don’t want to be posted to Chilwell. Even other Corps and Regiments know of its reputation. The tour interval, the ongoing workload and the quite frankly appalling family and welfare support (Including housing) give 170 one of the worst reputations in the Corp and the wider Tri-Service.

    Fact: If you say you are being posted to Chilwell people either laugh at you or commiserate with you. There is something fundamentally wrong with this attitude.

    The Command at 170 need to do some real soul searching, before its too late.

    In conjunction with the manning issue above the recent stop gap measure of placing Non Clerk of Works in Team Warrant Officer posts was a poor decision at the very least. This has weakened moral and destroyed to my knowledge 15 years of work convincing a sceptical General Roster that Clk of Wks have an important part to play in infrastructure engineering.

    The Team Warrant Officer is the “Key” member of staff in any Works Team or Design Cell. His level of experience and training should make him, the guiding light to the junior members of staff and the conformation of decisions made by the Command elements. This should not be classed as an “Admin Role” (You can get a Chief Clk for that). It may be that some over zealous GE’s have weakened the role in the past this trend needs to be reversed and the level of respect for a TWO placed on parr with that off an RSM.

    Fact: If conformation of the level of respect a WO1 Clk of Wks has, look outside the Corp. A Garrison Commander would rather gap an SO2, than his Divisional Clk of Wks.

    Additionally, the role’s of the RSM at 170 Engr Group should be considered as a place where a 2nd Tour WO1 Clerk of Wks could serve in a similar fashion to the Corp RSM. This would significantly strengthen the technical roster and remove what is presently considered by the General Roster as a Second Class RSM’s post. The right person in this post should be tasked with turning round the disillusionment presently hovering over Chilwell. This will be a difficult task for any Warrant Officer, but you need someone willing to get down to the grass routes but still has an open door to the commander when he comes back with a solution.

    (please don’t take my rant at this point as demeaning to the RSM or the TWO’s presently in post I am sure, in fact I know, that they are all good blokes)

    Instructional Post and the RSME

    The continuing lack of support for PPP at RSME is affecting all the design and artisan trades. This “vision” has dragged on for far too long. The OR’s are not stupid, if this were any good for the Corp it would be in place now. There is obviously something critically wrong with this project and taking a stab in the dark, lack of full funding is probably the sticking point.

    The replacement of Instructors with civilian staff however is in my opinion is unforgivable, and this ranges over the entire design and artisan streams. Using Military Instructors not only strengthens our roster by giving direct relationships, they develop leadership skills and pass on years of experience. Most importantly, they instil Corp values in the junior members of the corp. Instructors are and should be the top members of any roster particularly the artisan and technical streams. The SMI’s positions should again be a 2nd tour WO1s and given the responsibility and respect that these key posts deserves. V eng should be used to its full advantage at the RSME.

    If an example of this failure is needed look at the Royal Signals they are starting to lose the Corp Values and personal discipline we place so highly, Civilisation of their training and key posts has critical damaged them as a Corp.

    Fact: “Corp Values” is the biggest single issue at the moment, operational effectives and moral hinges on this principle. Both these issues are key in the ongoing struggle with retention
  8. I think the main problem with getting people to volunteer for Clerk of Works/MPF training is the destinct lack of information readily available about the courses and what they fully entail. The common misconceptions are:
    Design trades are the only ones who do well.
    You have to had come top of your Class 2 and Class 1 to apply.
    Its stupidly hard/impossible.
    You put your life on hold for 2 years and give up your family.

    There should be more active recruiting for technical courses and it should be encouraged at all levels PROVIDED the right standard of people are accepted and the courses are still as challenging.
  9. Wow,

    Hit the nail squarely on the head about 170 there!

    As a chap with less that six months left after signing off at 18 years, part of the reason is how the Army, not just the Corps, is managed.

    Done a lot of stuff at Div/LAND level and the only real thing it did is give that moment in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy looks behind the curtain to see some bumbling f*ckwit at the controls :frustrated:

    Oh yeah, a few less mortars and rockets would be nice :thumleft:
  10. Sorry this statement is plain wrong. ME (Svy Engr) soldiers are still receiving an HND in Engineering Surveying on successful completion of the Class 1 course.

    Sadly ME (Svy Engr) Class 2 soldiers can no longer receive an HNC at the end of their course because, after the introduction of the shortened ITM syllabus they simply do not cover enough units to earn it. Any units they do complete on a Class 2 are carried forward to their Class 1 course when they return and where they should complete the qualification.

    I would like to think I know a little bit about this!
  11. Got to agree with you there fatbadge, FD should still be in. Not as far as the point of bullying but the AGAI does nothing. At least FD would help them learn respect and stop gobbing off or running to the WRVS every time they get told off.
  12. Agree with many of the comments so far. Observation of effect on outsourcing training at R Sigs is a useful comparison and one we need to take on board.

    Better communications and knowledge sharing between units throughout the Corp would aid retention. Presently, those on Ops are not supported, or able to access skills available within the Corps anywhere near as effectively as they could. Which, inturn leads to units operating below their abilities, which wears guys down.

    Welcome back Knocker btw.
  13. cheers,

    spoke to one of my old bosses today who had just got back from "herrick" & he was saying the exact same thing.

    what have you got to offer lads nowadays ????

    no real decent jollies in the sun anymore or time to do courses / adventure training / family life / singlie life / etc....................................

    just another tour of "telic" OR "herrick", that is bound to keep the lads in the corps, is'nt it ????
  14. WFG - where are all these "2nd tour WO1s" coming from? There aren't enough 1st tour ones to go around, as for VEng how many people are actually enticed by having a few extra years of MCM managing careers by dartboard only?!!!

    Bang on target with the 170 comments though :)
  15. While accepting as valid all the points mentioned, I've got to suspect that they're mainly aimed at the upper end of the rank range.

    Knocker's comment about better, civvy-recognised qualifications would actually decrease retention, wouldn't it? Train people up, qualify them, then expect them to leave in droves. It may encourage recruitment, but not retention.

    Pay's not honestly the solution - despite a lot of suggestions to the contrary, Army pay compares quite favourably to civvy pay, particularly when you add in some of the other benefits.

    Living conditions could be improved immensely. SLA is a gleam of brightness on the horizon but MQs don't seem to be particularly high on the agenda. If you can keep your wife and kids happy, then you've probably gone a long way to improving retention amongst the married soldiers.

    Tours are a stumbling block. To reduce the workload needs a massive influx of trade-trained new blood. If you could increase the recruitment, you'd still be left with the problem of training. Unfortunately, this is something that should have been addressed 10 years ago for it to bear fruit today. All I can suggest in this respect is that trades become more specialised in order to reduce training time. Streamlining knowledge can work, but for it to be effective in the RE environment would require the introduction of specialist pools. The downside is that it would be uneconomic in respect of manpower (e.g. 3 people doing the work currently being done by one) and would have further recruitment implications. In an operational environment, though, personnel could be selected for tasks specific to their specialism, and these tasks could well be of short duration. So tours could end up being of the basis, 4 months on standby with one month total actually deployed. Just a thought.

    Of course, the other alternative is to contract out some of the work, though we'll keep this fairly quiet, shall we. This route leads to redundancy in the Army, then when the sh*t hits the fan, the contractor pulls out and what's left of the Army has to fill the gaps. (Does this sound familiar to anyone?).

    Well, some thoughts to ponder. Nothing will come of them, but at least it's something to talk about while you're sobbing into your beer.