Ben’s Blog – Armed Forces Day

Ben’s Story

I joined The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) in May 1996, aged 16, enrolling in intake 96B at Princess Marina College as an apprentice Electronics Technician. This involved far more academic work than I expected, and I didn’t get to my 1st unit, 47th Regiment Royal Artillery, until early 1999. I spent 4 years here taking in deployments to The Falkland Islands and Canada.

In 2003 I was loaded on to my Class 1 course after which I was posted to The Kings’ Royal Hussars, which as with all Armoured Units proved to be a very busy post with countless exercises, Range packages and an Operational tour to Iraq on TELIC 6. During this period, I completed various career courses and after 4 enjoyable years I was loaded on my Artificer Electronics Course at Arborfield. A degree accredited course and an excellent example of how the Military has equated their own courses, skills and experiences into Civilian recognised qualifications.

Following my Artificer course, at the end of 2008, I was posted to 11 Training Battalion REME (School of Electronic and Aeronautical Engineering in old money) to teach Challenger 2 Electronics. I found this an extremely rewarding post teaching the next generation of tradesmen/women. I also gained some civilian accredited teaching qualifications and had a 4-month detachment to Oman. It was here that I learnt about Loan Service posts and eventually led to my next posting which was to be 3 years in Oman starting in 2011.

Oman proved to be best the best time of my Military career for both myself and family. My role was the Electronics advisor to the Royal Army of Oman, Armoured Brigade based an hour and half from Muscat. It was a great job, but it was definitely more about the lifestyle. Following Oman, I was posted to The Serious Equipment Failure Investigation Team (SEFIT) in 2014 which was later to become The Defence Accident Investigation Branch (DAIB). I definitely preferred it as the former with the focus more on Engineering failure, something I have always been passionate about. The work I conducted in this post was a key factor in gaining my IEng accreditation with the IMechE, another significant benefit the REME offer their tradesmen.

In 2017 it was time to head back to the field Army with my final posts being with 19th Regiment RA and 4 Battalion REME, both in Tidworth. It was a nice way to end my Military career, finishing as a WO1 (ASM) at an active field force Unit. The tradesmen remained as good as I remember, but unfortunately all too small in number.

 My transition is very much in its infancy but has so far been positive, undoubtedly helped by my geographic location and the network I formed while serving. The recruitment process, with Engage, was very relaxed and it felt extremely personal which for me was very important. Although the recruitment process was relaxed, in only a week in the job, I can see that the process is very effective with all my peers demonstrating the same pro-active, professional approach I want to be a part of.