Back to school: First steps to becoming an Artificer

Sgt Griffiths

Sgt Griffiths

I am Sergeant Jonathan ‘Griff’ Griffiths and I’ve been in the REME for 14 years, during which I have been an Armourer and Metalsmith.  Completing two basic courses and two class one courses.  This has meant that I have spent long periods of time in trade training.

I began my Metalsmith course in Jan 1998 and after long stand downs due to the training facilities being upgraded to health and safety standard I completed Metalsmith trade training in December 1999. I joined 6th Battalion REME, based in Tidworth garrison.  As a Lance Corporal, I was posted to 7 Transport Regiment RLC in September 2003.  Soon after my arrival, I was returned to SEME to complete my Metalsmith class one course from February to July 2004.  I was then promoted to Corporal on posting to 16 Tank Transporter Squadron.  In October 2005 I attended my PAAB and passed first time.

After being selected from ASCLB in 2007, I began re-trading to Armourer and completed a basic course followed soon after by my Armourer class one course –  both courses covering the period April 2007 to September 2008. On completion of my class one I was posted  to 4 Close Support Battalion REME, whilst in this post I was selected for Artificer* loading and began my course in August 2011.

Back to school

On arrival to 10 Training Battalion to get booked in at the RDO, the enormity of the course ahead begins to sink in.  On the first day the course is quite rushed as the first task is to move to Arborfield to attend Artificers Command and Field Course part 1.  It is definitely worth pre-empting this by packing to attend the REME Arms School before you arrive in Bordon. 

At REME Arms School, the course begins immediately leaving little time for organisation.  On first glance of the way of life of the REME Arms School, it is clear that you must adapt to a life of being in an Army training school very quickly. The course goes very quickly and includes a PFA on the first Wednesday; some pre training is a must, and work to getting at least 30 seconds below your time as the Arborfield course is  hard.

The ACFC course content has a civilian feel to it as you go through the week, but the content goes towards the HND and is essential for gaining the qualification. There is a trip to DE&S at Abbey Wood, Bristol. It is a good trip and refreshing to  escape the classroom.  This trip is also an opportunity to get to know some of the contacts there for your Artificer project.

On returning to Bordon getting into daily life happens quickly: block 1 maths, science and engineering materials go past very quickly.  At a similar time you will be settling into routine of the Battalion.  Before you arrive, I recommend not studying Maths and Science in detail, because you will do that here, but, definitely get reacquainted with the laws of maths, such as transposing formulae and refreshing SI units, conversion factors and practicing converting units, as these simple things can cause you to fail questions in exams.

In our time here I have tried hard to get into a daily routine as much as possible.   But be aware that during the working week and even during your working day things will come up to disrupt that routine, it is just a question of adapting to the environment and getting on with it.  

Our first exam was hard and required focused revision.  They are doable, you just have to put the time and effort in, it is as simple as that.

*Artificers receive advanced training in their trade and are able to pick up a range of further qualifications such as the BTEC Higher Diploma, HNC, HND or BSc degree. Artificers are then able to progress even further up the ranks with successful completion of the intensive Artificer course leading to Staff Sergeant and the opportunity to then progress to Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1).  Being an artificer can also lead to an Officer’s commission and leadership training at RMA Sandhurst, after which it is possible to become a Chartered Engineer.

More at this link:

9 thoughts on “Back to school: First steps to becoming an Artificer

  1. Ediam says:

    I wish you a happy christmas and all the best with your career, and thanks for all you do in the service of our nation. I found your article very interesting though I must admit my ignorance as to what an “artificer” actually is and does. I am sure however that it is important and significant. Good Luck.


  2. Mrs Andrea Maddocks says:

    Good Luck. I come from a military background. My Dad was at Bordon for a while before WW2, he was in Tank Corps, and I felt very close to him at Bordon when I worked there as a civillian in the Rehab Gym, helping the Physiotherapist. Loved going down to fetch post or stationery as I could walk by all the Tanks. We get them in Aldershot sometimes, but it was only recently that I found out that my Dad had been to Bordon for his training.


  3. pompeyrodney says:

    Hi Griff, you brought back loads of memories of my Navy tiffs course at Gosport. Regular exams were hard to get used to but at least I was not depoyable for 2 and a half years so make the very best of your family time mate. All the best Julian


  4. Chris says:

    Best wishes Griff from an ex-REME NCO – best days of my life from basic training in Arborfield to Bordon, Germany, Cyprus and finally UK at Bulford with 32 GW Regt RA Wksps, fantastic experiences and memories ! Good luck in your career, Chris.


  5. Tim Attridge says:

    Best wishes to you on your course…..I was on Art Veh Course 263 in 1973 so I know what you are gonna go through to succeed at the other end !! The long term rewards, even after you leave the Army will make it all worth while. Have to say, I really found the Maths so so difficult, as I think most of us did on the course.
    Don’t give up !!


  6. colleen hardy says:

    hello very interesting to read about your life in the REME my eldest son is an armourer with them for the last two years but I am told nothing lol. He is in Bordon at the moment doing more training till after christmas. The training seems to be an ongoing process for you. He is based out in Germany. All the best to you with your training and your army career, Colleen


  7. David Grundy says:

    Great stuff! Well written, interesting. Brings back memories of friends who did their ‘Tiffy’ courses when I was in the mil (last century) and my own ‘studies’ in a 4 year Accountancy. The result will be worth it, keep going.

    Coaching Tip, create a vision board and create the image of your success. Put it where you will see it every day. It works for athletes and it will work for you too. Keep it in your sights.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s