Thinking about joining the Royal Australian Signals.....

Discussion in 'Royal Signals' started by jockdude, May 24, 2008.

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  1. Firstly, let me emphasise this is not a recruiting drive for the Royal Australian Signals and there is no intent to disadvantage the Royal Signals, or any other Corps. This post is merely to highlight some of the areas individuals should be aware of, if they are considering a move down under to pursue a 'second' career. I am an ex British serviceman who completed 22 years and it is those individuals in a similar position I am aiming this post at.

    What can you expect from the Australian Army?

    1. A thorough recruiting and enlistment process.

    2. Interviewed and assessed on your suitability for enlistment, paying particular attention with regard to the fact you and your family are making the right decision. This will include a Psychological evaluation, medical examination including HIV and Hepatitis C testing.

    3. They will give you lots of information regarding schooling, medical and benefits etc.

    4. You and your family to fly to your posted locality, business class.

    5. Overnight hotel prior to departure (5 Star) in London.

    6. Taxi collection to the airport.

    7. Travel will include a two day stop-over (mine was Kuala Lumpar).

    8. Taxi collection to and from stop-over airport.

    9. Pick up from your destination (unit rep).

    10. Travel expenses to cover meals and allowances for the journey.

    11. Your household furniture and effects will be shipped to your posted locality.

    12. Refund of visa and medical expenses, and any other expense you incur related to your enlistment/travel etc.

    What benefits can you expect when you get over here?

    1. Salary - depends on rank on enlistment. I can find out if people let me know the rank they expect to enlist at (some, not all may have to reduce by one rank). The salary is very competitive with the civilian market (SGT = $55000 (£26500) approx. In the RASIGS)).

    2. Service allowance and a uniform maintenance allowance (around $10500 (£5100) per annum)).

    3. Add both of the above plus a SGT’s British tax free pension after commutation (£7200 ($14800) if I’m not mistaken)) your total annual income would be around $80000 (£38000). Add on any income your missus/husband would earn and you can live very comfortably.

    4. Subsidised housing. There are military quarters but individuals can choose to rent their own property and they receive rental assistance.

    5. Super Annuation (pension) contributions from defence are high. As an individual, you pay 5% of your salary. Previous British military career is taken into consideration and Defence pays the higher contributions in to your fund.

    6. Reduced Health Insurance costs for your family members. As a Defence member my insurance costs are half what a civilian would pay. It’s recommended that everyone has health insurance. There is the equivalent of the NHS but it is still best to have your own Health Insurance.

    7. When you deploy on operations you are paid very well. Up to $200 per day and sometimes $250 per day depending on the hostile environment. Works out at about £90-£120 per day.

    8. When you deploy on exercise it’s around $45 per day. Works out around £21 per day. Imagine getting paid more for deploying on exercise in Australia than you do for deploying on Operations in Iraq as a member of HM Forces – where’s the justice for British troops.

    9. First time home buyer benefits from Defence and another from the Government (around $20000 combined). If you are in Victoria, this will just about cover your costs and stamp duty however, in Queensland you’ll have lots of money left over. There is also a Defence mortgage package for which there is a qualifying period (4 years). This kicks in soon (July 08). Fortunately, as lateral transfers, Defence gives us those 4 years. Works out around $200 per month towards your mortgage. As you increase your time in the service, the subsidy increases (every 4 years).

    10. Excellent disturbance allowance rates. Depends on where you are posted, but my understanding is that if you are posted from Melbourne to Darwin you get around $4000. It does take a while to drive there though..... I think you are given 10 days to drive...

    11. If you come across as a SNCO/WO there is an opportunity to commission after three years. That is a ‘regular’ commission and not late entry. You then have a full career as an officer if you wish.

    12. Eligible for Citizenship after three months - only serving soldier and children under 16. Sadly wife and kids over 16 have to wait the four years......

    13. Senior officers will quite happily call you by your first name and introduce themselves in a similar fashion (very strange to get used to).

    14. The rank structure is slightly different. PTE – CPL (LCPL is only a small stepping stone to see if individuals can step up to the rank of CPL). SGT – WO2 – WO1 (No SSGT Rank).

    15. Everyone in the Defence has their own logon credentials and they can view their pay statements, check that their details are up to date and even do online training.

    16. If you have completed 22 years, your military pension will be an added extra bonus. Be aware though, that the Australians have a ‘worldwide tax’ and even if you have it paid in to an account in another country, you will still have to declare it and pay tax on it. Bummer I know, but they will find out. There is an agreement between Australia and the UK regarding tax (double taxation) and you can get your pension free from UK tax. It will take a bit of time, but before you arrive here it’s worth getting in touch with the Inland Revenue and start the process to receive your pension tax free. I’m here nearly a year and I’m still paying the tax in the UK, even though I contacted the Inland Revenue over three months ago – very slow process....

    17. No Micro Management. Amazing..... You’re given a job to do and they let you get on with it.

    What do they look for?

    1. Four years return of service. They have paid a lot of money to get you over here.

    2. They’re looking for soldiers wanting to embrace the Australian military ethos. You will find many differences between both armies. Accept it and don’t have the attitude ‘we didn’t do that in the British Army..!’ You will get a quick response, normally, ‘you’re not in the British Army – mate’...!! There may be a couple of expletives in there also..!!

    3. People who can think for themselves.

    4. People who are good at their job/trade. As a geek, I’m meeting really competent/excellent individuals. Unlike my time in RSIGS were there were lots of people who could talk a good a job and few of us who could actually do the job, the opposite can be said of the geeks in RASIGS.

    5. People who will muck in, regardless of rank.

    6. They’ll only promote people who are qualified, not only with courses but also with a minimum time in rank (none of the RSIGS Technician two minutes in rank syndrome). Each individual who gets promoted, for example to the rank of SGT, will have completed an Army promotion course (tactics, drill, education) regardless of which corps you are from. A Corps specific course covering all aspects of that Corps i.e. in the RASIGS, everyone completes the course over a seven week period and will cover the spectrum of all trades within the RASIGS culminating in a three week field exercise. A Trade specific course covering all aspects of that particular trade i.e. for Geeks, lots of Microsoft and CISCO, including VOIP. These promotion courses are throughout the rank spectrum. You will complete them as a PTE, CPL, SGT, and WO. You will see that people in whatever rank they hold a; passed the relevant courses and b; have spent a minimum time in rank i.e. five years in the rank of SGT before being considered for promotion to WO2. Technicians in the RSIGS may choke on their vomit now they have read that.....!!

    7. With regard to the promotion courses, if you have the necessary qualifications and experience, you can apply for Recognition of Current Competencies/Recognition of Prior Learning (RCC/RPL) and there may be elements of the course(s) you will not be required to attend. The relevant board, consisting of a number of SME’s will sit to discuss your application and a decision will be made. I was surprised by the level of professionalism applied to this process. Very transparent indeed.

    8. If you are not operationally ready (fitness assessments, weapons, dental, medical etc, etc), you will not be considered for promotion or indeed any deployments. It’s one of those things I really like as it sorts out the lazy buggers from the rest of us...... For those of you who have quite happily sat back with your sick chits and done bugger all for 10 years, don’t embarrass the rest of us by applying.....

    9. If you chose not to accept a posting order (and you can), depending on the reason, you may be offered Restricted Service (you won’t be considered for promotion) in order to remain where you are or move to a desired location.

    10. You’ll be given a degree of latitude as a lateral transfer, but they will expect you to quickly fall in to line regarding their customs and traditions.

    11. Learn Australian drill..... An experience in itself.

    Other stuff

    1. Car insurance is relatively cheaper than the UK.

    2. Fuel is half the price of the UK.

    3. More real estate for your money (big houses).

    4. What you pay in dollars for a house here would cost you the same in pounds in the UK.

    5. Public transport is so much better than the UK.

    6. So many golf courses.

    7. Shopping centres to die for (that’s for the wives).

    8. Bigger roads. In Melbourne they have 3 lanes on what would be considered a main road and not a motorway.

    Disadvantages – there are some

    1. You are the other side of the world.

    2. You can fly for at least 6 hours and still be in the same country.

    3. You have to record premiership games or sit up very late to watch them.

    4. Slow speed limits (120kmh on motorways – 100kmh in Victoria). Nightmare if you have lived in Germany.

    5. Bad drivers – they are really bad..!!

    6. Limited competition when it comes to TV, Telephone, Broadband etc.

    7. It will take an eternity to understand Australian Rules football......

    8. The Australian Army won’t pay for you to export your car. We did and it cost around $14000 in total as you have to pay stamp duty and import taxes based on their evaluation of your vehicle.

    9. Regardless of how well you clean your lawnmower or car, the Aussies will still clean it (they have strict quarantine regulations) and charge you a princely sum for the privilege. Cheaper to leave the lawnmower in the UK..!!

    10. If alcohol is in your shipment, declare it and expect to pay excise duty on it....

    What should you do?

    1. Get all your medical docs photocopied.

    2. Get all your qualifications copied.

    3. Get a number of Unicom Printouts.

    4. Bring all your medal ribbons (take them off your No2 Dress).

    5. Get a copy of all your Course Reports and Annual Confidential Reports from Manning and Records. Trust me these will come in handy if you have to attend promotion courses. Ideal to also give CR’s to your Troop Commander when you arrive in your unit. Gives them a chance to find out about you.

    6. Make sure your security clearance is up to date.

    7. Open up a bank account in London (Commonwealth Bank of Australia) where you can put your money into and it will be transferred into an account in Australia.

    8. Watch the exchange rate and only transfer the money when the Australian dollar is weak. At the moment it is too strong.....

    9. Go on holiday before you come over here as you’ll get stressed for the first few months.

    10. Once you find out where you are going, research the area on the internet. Find out the best schools and where to buy property.

    I only meant to write a few paragraphs........ Hopefully there are a lot of questions answered and I have probably left out more....... Any questions PM me and I’ll endeavour to get back to you.
     
  2. Interesting post, jockdude. I bet it has pricked a few ears up. I have spoken to quite a few people over the past year or two who are seriously considering such a move.
     
  3. I’m looking into emigrating next year, I have 25 years in the TA total, 17 in the Infantry (4 Para ended up as a Plt Sgt) after SDR moved to the Sigs, Have done Iraq and currently in Afghan with 16 Sigs as a Tp Sgt would they consider me?
     
  4. Where do I enlist :D
     
  5. On the down side, I found them to be PC to the point of frustration, bound by rules and generally too laid back.

    Enjoyed it though.
     
  6. Lincoln:

    Are you a regular serving soldier or still TA..?? They do have reservists but I'm not entirely sure if they have the same sort of deal as they do for full time soldiers. I'm sure all your years of service would be considered during the application. Worth giving it a go.

    If you do apply, feel free to PM me with any questions regarding the whole process.

    Guru:

    You're not wrong mate.... there are too many rules and they are a little PC to the point of pretty pointless, given they are Aussies.... second only to the Germans regarding rudeness...!!

    I like the laid back attitude..... refreshing compared with RSIGS... no power hungry RD's here......
     
  7. The RD mentality IS different, and generally in a good way. But.......a tom should fear his SSM and RSM. I found that the way the Badge and the SSM dealt with Seniors p1ssed me off.

    The Badge at the unit that I was with ( 7 in Cabarlah ) was an absolute diamond of a fella.
     
  8. How do you go about applying ?
     
  9.  
  10. Forester

    Look here and scroll down for overseas lateral transfers...

    http://www.defence.gov.au/army/scma/Transfer.htm

    heidtheba

    Pot and Kettle - don't get what you mean and you may have to expand on my attitude being the norm...but if you are offended by my interpretation of RDs in the RSIGS...don't be, it's just an opinion.......

    The_guru

    The SSMs are tradesmen put into those roles (from what I can see). Given that, regardless of trade, they all do the same WOs subject courses (except Subj4) it makes sense that people can step out of the trade role into the RD role and then back again. As I'm in training command I find the RSM and WOs tend to support us SNCOs, until a fcuk up... then they come down hard.....but that's training command for you....

    R U still serving or have you moved back to UK..... what's 7 SIG like... I'm looking at a posting there after DFSS as I fancy living in Toowoomba...
     
  11. ...but if you are offended by my interpretation of RDs in the RSIGS...don't be, it's just an opinion.......

    Yes is, but it is an IMHO unbalanced one.

    I, have to In my trade, go RD.
    So do you think less of me if I make my way up the ranks if I do?

    Fair paly to the YofS, FofS and IS boys before me, but please don't belittle us.
     
  12. heidtheba

    .....So do you think less of me if I make my way up the ranks if I do

    No not at all mate.... I have no problems with people going through the ranks regardless of how they achieve it and best of luck to you....

    This post is not about my opinions regarding trades/RD personnel. It is to inform people who may be thinking about transferring to the Australian Army and in particular RASIGS, and what to expect or look out for during the application process etc. Hopefully I can help based on my experiences to date......

    As with most things, people closely affected by comments tend to go on the defensive and not take it in the light hearted humour intended....... I'm sure you quite happily 'bait' the Techs/Geeks/Telly Mechs. I'm sure you'll agree, it's all light hearted humour and not belitteling.....

    Anyway, back to the original post.......
     
  13. Struth mate...
     
  14. JockDude

    I would like to thank you for this post,
    It has given many of us considering this option when leaving a quick insight as to what to expect.

    I think the forum mods should lock this thread or a least the original post so it doesn't get lost in the rest of the pages.