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Thread: RAF Engineering

  1. RAF Engineering

    Hey all, long time lurker finally decided to make an account.

    I was wondering if I could get some opinions on a way forward for myself. I'm a (mature?) student in my mid 20's, about to enter the final year of my degree course in an engineering degree who is considering joining the RAF as an Officer - either Regular or Reserve. Obviously, my first choice would be in engineering (aerosystems ideally). I don't recall there being a Reserve option for engineers - only Regular unless prior service experience?

    Anyway, was looking for some opinions in the matter, either from those serving in this field or someone in the know. What's the lifestyle like? Promotion? Career progression? Travel? Detachment frequency? Likely areas of postings? Chance of being able to work on fast jets? Any info at all, I've already scoured the leaflets and web a huge amount, but would like some real world information aside from the usual promotional stuff.

    I'm pretty familiar with the RAF as a whole, served around 2 years as a Reservist in my early 20's (hence the push to further education to rejoin the RAF as an engineer on fast jets - had initially wanted to transfer to the Regulars but some good advice from a Corporal at the time was to go and get a degree and worry about that later on. Obviously though when you're out in the world (studying for 4 years now, left Reserves 3 years ago), your goals can shift and I am now slightly hesitant, mostly due to the fact I know I can can get very good pay in a civilian job with relative ease. Also, what are the chances of me ending up on a remote base in England for a number of years?

    So, any information or advice would be helpful. I'd realistically be signing up a bit later on than most graduate engineers so I'm a bit worried whether or not I'd fit in.

    Thanks guys.

  2. #2
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    Youíll fit in unless you are a d1ck. The only people who donít fit in are d1cks.
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  3. Quote Originally Posted by diddly123 View Post
    Hey all, long time lurker finally decided to make an account.

    I was wondering if I could get some opinions on a way forward for myself. I'm a (mature?) student in my mid 20's, about to enter the final year of my degree course in an engineering degree who is considering joining the RAF as an Officer - either Regular or Reserve. Obviously, my first choice would be in engineering (aerosystems ideally). I don't recall there being a Reserve option for engineers - only Regular unless prior service experience?

    Anyway, was looking for some opinions in the matter, either from those serving in this field or someone in the know. What's the lifestyle like? Promotion? Career progression? Travel? Detachment frequency? Likely areas of postings? Chance of being able to work on fast jets? Any info at all, I've already scoured the leaflets and web a huge amount, but would like some real world information aside from the usual promotional stuff.

    I'm pretty familiar with the RAF as a whole, served around 2 years as a Reservist in my early 20's (hence the push to further education to rejoin the RAF as an engineer on fast jets - had initially wanted to transfer to the Regulars but some good advice from a Corporal at the time was to go and get a degree and worry about that later on. Obviously though when you're out in the world (studying for 4 years now, left Reserves 3 years ago), your goals can shift and I am now slightly hesitant, mostly due to the fact I know I can can get very good pay in a civilian job with relative ease. Also, what are the chances of me ending up on a remote base in England for a number of years?

    So, any information or advice would be helpful. I'd realistically be signing up a bit later on than most graduate engineers so I'm a bit worried whether or not I'd fit in.

    Thanks guys.
    The Corporal gave you some good advice and now you have options! I never served as a commissioned officer, so my view is from observation alone. I would say that the officers that progress the best are probably those that are the most flexible and go after roles that will serve them well for promotion, thoughts about "will I go away too much", "will I end up deploying often?", "can I get based near home?" may not be conducive to rapid ascent up the ranks. As far as what are the chances of working as a fast jet squadron engineering officer. Look at how many squadrons there are, multiply that by 2 or 3, add 1 SEngO per squadron and mostly 1 engineering OC Eng Wg Cdr per unit. From those numbers you can imagine there is competition for the places....but someone has to get those roles so you shouldn't let that put you off, especially if you rate yourself.

    As you know there are many other aircraft types and engineering environments that EngO work in which I am sure are just as rewarding. Additionally there's procurement and some very interesting niche roles dotted about.

    You'll be best to talk to a serving EngO and if I were you, but before you do, be honest with yourself and decide what sort of engineering / management you want to do and ask them questions to reveal what is possible and if it is a fit. If your first posting was as an engineer in a Motor Transport section or a servicing bay...would you be ok with that?

    The good news is that assignments tend to be roughly 2 years or less, so if you get a stinker it wont be long until you're on your way. The flip side is that you don't have long to master the role and make an impact. So you can appreciate how those that ascend whilst managing to be effective is remarkable and very Darwinian! I'll save you from tales of progression whilst causing chaos in their wake with no consequence.

    I think they do a very challenging job, sometimes in very difficult circumstances. As you'll appreciate, serving in the military isn't an ordinary job and you'll get to do stuff that you'd never get near to as a civvy.

    As far as fitting in...be energetic, be positive, look after your peers and subordinates and keep your sense of humour and you'll fit in just fine. Good luck whatever you decide to do.

  4. The plum jobs are Jengo (now second tour) and Sengo (probably around the fourth). Because all equipment now has project team and an extremely long tail, don't expect to be poring over detailed wiring diagrams coming up with a brilliant solution to adoring glances. If it's known, the SNCOs will sort it - if it isn't the PT will.

    IN between these, there are few if any remote bases - probably 6 MOBs left to get posted to in the UK. The rest are desks somewhere being in charge of some obscure piece of metal in the fleet.

    Really and truly? the techies get all the fun.

  5. While Fast Jets are shiny and pointy (or even dull and blunt, nowadays), I'd advise aiming for one of the radar or refuelling platforms. That way you earn direct transferable skills for Civvy Strasse, not many BA F-35's twenty years down the line.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket_Ronster View Post
    While Fast Jets are shiny and pointy (or even dull and blunt, nowadays), I'd advise aiming for one of the radar or refuelling platforms. That way you earn direct transferable skills for Civvy Strasse, not many BA F-35's twenty years down the line.
    The joys of Part M. The Civvy world likes people to be licenced engineers for the majority of post mind. I have yet to see any EngOs in the management chain of a Civvy set up. Then again enough military contractors will bite your hand off. Who you know and that.

 

 

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