Royal Engineers, carpenter or sparky?

#1
I'm seriously considering joining the Royal Engineers as the idea of being a combat engineer and having a trade at the same time. I'm sort of debating whether to go in as a carpenter or a sparky, both of them interest me and I wanted some advice from any serving/former engineers in which trade would A. Get more use, don't want to be sat there getting bored and B. Would be more useful in the civilian world, I'm not asking anyone to decide what I go in as for me, just advice on which would be the better choice in both military and civilian life.
 
#2
I'm seriously considering joining the Royal Engineers as the idea of being a combat engineer and having a trade at the same time. I'm sort of debating whether to go in as a carpenter or a sparky, both of them interest me and I wanted some advice from any serving/former engineers in which trade would A. Get more use, don't want to be sat there getting bored and B. Would be more useful in the civilian world, I'm not asking anyone to decide what I go in as for me, just advice on which would be the better choice in both military and civilian life.

As a sparky I can only advise my own trade, either in the RE's Or signals, theirs not much of a difference, only that when you are discharged, your army skills wont be worth diddly squat, unless you go with the OB units on film sets. Civvy sparkies are a whole different practise. Army sparks are primary genny mongs, field lighting distribution, and maintenance, that's it.
 
#3
As a sparky I can only advise my own trade, either in the RE's Or signals, theirs not much of a difference, only that when you are discharged, your army skills wont be worth diddly squat, unless you go with the OB units on film sets. Civvy sparkies are a whole different practise. Army sparks are primary genny mongs, field lighting distribution, and maintenance, that's it.
A wood muggle then?
 
#4
As a sparky I can only advise my own trade, either in the RE's Or signals, theirs not much of a difference, only that when you are discharged, your army skills wont be worth diddly squat, unless you go with the OB units on film sets. Civvy sparkies are a whole different practise. Army sparks are primary genny mongs, field lighting distribution, and maintenance, that's it.
Yeah that's what i feared would happen, probably going to be hammering planks then?
 
#6
My mate is an RE sparky and was working in the construction Regt 39 I think. They got to do proper sparky stuff.

Some RE quals are military meaning notthe full civvy qual. But some trades such as HVAC and sparky have to bethe full ticket for legal reasons
 
#8
My mate is an RE sparky and was working in the construction Regt 39 I think. They got to do proper sparky stuff.

Some RE quals are military meaning notthe full civvy qual. But some trades such as HVAC and sparky have to bethe full ticket for legal reasons
Yeah one thing I don't want to happen is to be stuck doing military quals that mean nothing if and when I leave, probably leaning towards carpenter at the moment as it's a good trade that I can't imagine being too different in the forces than in civilian life
 
#10
Go sparky. The quals and experience are more valuable and transferable when you leave - it's a safety critical job so you have to be trusted to do it well and reliably. Also more taxing on the brain, which would stand you in good stead for further education. There is more theory in being a sparky and more scope for specialisation and high wages rather than being a wood butcher.

Good sparkies can make a lot of money whether in domestic, commercial or infrastructure work, and the job is nicer as a civilian as you only get the sparkies in when the building is watertight.

A good chippy is someone who does it a lot day in day out - how much you get paid depends on how good you are on the tools, which is all about doing a lot of it. The type of carpentry you do in the army is very limited and you'll probably do it once a year tops, and with the wrong tools - and there is no-one any good to learn from.

One vital factor - no-one knows how long electrical work is meant to take, and it's less busy, so it's far easier to skive off. Everyone knows how long it takes to cut up timber and screw it back together.
 
#11
Yeah one thing I don't want to happen is to be stuck doing military quals that mean nothing if and when I leave, probably leaning towards carpenter at the moment as it's a good trade that I can't imagine being too different in the forces than in civilian life
To be honest - most RE wood butchers can’t hold a flame to a civvy joiner. They have some army stuff that happens that seems to get in the way of practicing trade stuff. Either one would be ok, in my book.
 
#15
Yeah that's what i feared would happen, probably going to be hammering planks then?
Go for a trade, a trade a still a trade, and when you come out, you will have a lever for the real world in building and construction. At the moment the construction industry is critically short of all trades. and consequently the pay rates are astronomical. My Trade As a J.I.B. graded sparks is £17 P/H. I was a trained civvy sparky on joining up, and so I had the genny experience to add to my CV when I came out, and in the 37 years since my discharge, I have had to use my genny knowledge gained in the mob, exactly NO times.
Do what you feel comfortable with, but for F**** sake get a trade. Royal signals, Royal Engineers, or the REME. your choice.
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
#16
For civilian life it has to be Carpenter every time IMHO. Electricians install, maintain and repair stuff but Carpenters make things from raw materials which is much more satisfying.
 
#18
My brother began as an army apprentice, qualified as a sparky, and went on to some very good postings, all involving his trade rather than mil skills.
He ended up as a clerk of works, and moved into civvy st straight into similar work in utilities management.
Well qualified, well paid, but long hours and s lot of travel.
 
#19
Go sparky. The quals and experience are more valuable and transferable when you leave - it's a safety critical job so you have to be trusted to do it well and reliably. Also more taxing on the brain, which would stand you in good stead for further education. There is more theory in being a sparky and more scope for specialisation and high wages rather than being a wood butcher.

Good sparkies can make a lot of money whether in domestic, commercial or infrastructure work, and the job is nicer as a civilian as you only get the sparkies in when the building is watertight.

A good chippy is someone who does it a lot day in day out - how much you get paid depends on how good you are on the tools, which is all about doing a lot of it. The type of carpentry you do in the army is very limited and you'll probably do it once a year tops, and with the wrong tools - and there is no-one any good to learn from.

One vital factor - no-one knows how long electrical work is meant to take, and it's less busy, so it's far easier to skive off. Everyone knows how long it takes to cut up timber and screw it back together.
Yeah from what I’ve read and who I’ve spoke to sparky does look like the better choice, I am planning to stay in the army for a long time and make something of it, but just want to have the best chance I can if I decide to leave or get knackered and medically discharged.
 
#20
Go for a trade, a trade a still a trade, and when you come out, you will have a lever for the real world in building and construction. At the moment the construction industry is critically short of all trades. and consequently the pay rates are astronomical. My Trade As a J.I.B. graded sparks is £17 P/H. I was a trained civvy sparky on joining up, and so I had the genny experience to add to my CV when I came out, and in the 37 years since my discharge, I have had to use my genny knowledge gained in the mob, exactly NO times.
Do what you feel comfortable with, but for F**** sake get a trade. Royal signals, Royal Engineers, or the REME. your choice.
I’m definitely wanting to go in the engineers as I want the trade and the combat engineer role, and one thing I do want to do is get into parachute engineer squadron. As I said before I do plan to stay with the army for a while so I might just not have to use my trade in civvy life
 

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