East Belfast men Colin Ferguson and Darren Johnston, members of the NI Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) Reserves, have been ‘locking spanners’ with fellow Reservists from Scotland in the annual battle for the coveted Bradwell Bowl trophy.
The competition which consisted of a series of different motor vehicle diagnostic tasks was hosted by Transport Training Services, based at Nutt’s Corner. The challenge provided the Reservists with an important opportunity to engage with an industry-leading business and reinforce vital STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills.
Craftsman Darren Johnston, who has been a reservist for 3 years, was more than up for the challenge, and delighted when the Northern Irish contingent carried off the ultimate honours.
He said, “This was a fantastic challenge and gave us a great chance to test our technical know-how and diagnostic skills, working against the clock and against highly experienced and competitive Reservists – plus we all benefited from working at TTS where the equipment is absolutely first class and industry-driven.”
A wholly owned subsidiary of the Transport Training Board for Northern Ireland, Transport Training Services has more than 25 years’ experience of developing people in the UK transport industry, and the organisation’s advice is sought after and trusted around the UK and Ireland. Its Chief Executive, Michael Hutchinson, was impressed at seeing the REME Reservists at work.
He said, “This is an opportunity to have the excitement of a competition with all different types of practical activities. It also gives an insight into how training methods are progressing all the time. For example, the e-learning module is mainly based on computer gaming technology, so it’s a really engaging tool. Also, the test rigs are first-class, industry-driven pieces of equipment, which make it possible for vehicle faults to be simulated, thereby facilitating skill development in fault diagnosis.”
Sergeant Colin Ferguson, who has been a member of the REME Reserve for 10 years, added “The skills which make you a great mechanic in the Army are skills which can help you excel at your trade in Civilian employment and vice versa – the perfect career ‘win-win’. We’re always delighted to showcase what we do to, not least because we are looking for new people to join us.
“What we are looking for is enthusiasm and a willingness to learn – and we can provide the rest! We welcome men and women who already work within the motor industry as we can speedily transfer their skills into a defence environment. We can also equip them with engineering orientated leadership skills which can add value to the business that they work for and enhance the individual’s promotional opportunities.
“However we also welcome people who may not have any specific or relevant qualifications, but who are eager to learn. We can help them achieve qualifications which may even open the door to a new civilian career!
“Technical training with REME is, in my opinion, second to none but that’s just part of the picture. Our Reservists also benefit from developing wider team and leadership skills in a supportive environment where they will be financially rewarded as they learn. As our recent competition demonstrates, the challenges can be tough but they can also be enjoyable and they certainly provide a real sense of achievement.”
The Corps of REME is the Army’s professional engineers, who are tasked with the maintenance, recovery, repair and manufacture that keeps battle-winning equipment in fighting order. From repairing Challenger tanks at the forefront of the battle, through ensuring weapons keep firing, to maintaining the Apache Attack Helicopter, REME keeps up to date with the latest in advanced technologies and complex equipment. All REME personnel have a direct route to professional engineering accreditation.
For more information about joining Northern Ireland’s REME Reserves, call the local Army Careers Centre on 028 9042 0109 or search Army Jobs.