The Defence School of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering (DSEME) is part for the Defence College of Technical Training and is located at MOD Lyneham in Wiltshire. It is responsible for delivering technical training to soldiers, Royal Marines, airmen and officers from all three Services.
DSEME has a mission to deliver flexible, affordable, modern and effective technical training in order to support equipment capability that meets the requirements of the nation’s Armed Forces and the needs of their trainees now and into the future.
DSEME consists of a number of units including 8 Training Battalion REME which provides technical training for all REME soldiers.
After your induction training, you will complete a period of classroom-based training to provide you with the background knowledge to ensure that you will be successful in your trade followed by further practical training that is specific to your future trade. Your training will be conducted in a classroom, on demonstration pieces of equipment and in an outside ‘exercise – type’ environment.
Soldiers are assessed on their current knowledge in order to identify their level of key skills. Further training is then provided.
Most soldiers will then attend common foundation training which lasts for six weeks.
All Electronics, Avionics and Aircraft technicians will then attend technician foundation training that lasts for seven weeks.
Whilst the main aim of being at 8 Trg Bn REME is to conduct trade training for each individual to become qualified as a REME soldier, it is also essential that REME soldiers maintain and improve the military skills learnt during Phase 1 basic training.
The Mandatory Annual Training Tests (MATTs) are a set of training activities that have to be completed annually by every soldier and officer in the Army.
Every soldier is required to pass a course of Basic Close Combat Skills (BCCS) which builds upon the field skills that were taught during Phase 1 training.
All REME soldiers apart from Technical Support Specialists complete a technical training course that lasts for a relatively long period of time.
Recovery Mechanics have the job of racing into the field, recovering an immobilised vehicle and getting it back to somewhere safe where it can be properly fixed. All this makes them popular soldiers in the eyes of marooned vehicle crews.
Being a Recovery Mechanic is a physically arduous job, and as recovery mechanics are at the centre of the action with the armoured vehicles and infantry during operations, they also have to be quick thinkers.
First, they have to work out how to recover a vehicle that has broken down, become stuck or overturned. Then they have to put their plan into action. Recovery Mechanics use cranes, lifting gear and their training in mechanical theory to help them work out how to retrieve immobile vehicles.
Armourers maintain, repair and modify all of the Army’s weapons, whether they are simple rifles and pistols or complex heavy weapons like the 155mm weapon system on the AS90 tracked artillery vehicle or the 120mm weapon system on the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank.
The role of an Armourer is varied and important – you will have to have a detailed knowledge and understanding of all the Army’s weapons, and there’s no room for error with a weapon system that can fire shells over distances of 30 km. Every unit has its own weapons, so they depend on the REME Armourer to ensure they are ready to fight.
If a piece of equipment is made from metal then it is the job of a Metalsmith to work on it, whether by repairing broken parts, carrying out vehicle bodywork repair, fabricating tools for other repairs or fitting parts on vehicles and other equipment.
The training is very thorough, with periods of time working on sheet metal, blacksmithing and all types of welding. In both your training and on the job, you’ll get your hands on a huge range of kit – including all the modern electric arc welding processes and the more traditional oxy-acetylene welding gear – to carry out tasks such as vehicle repair and the manufacture of parts.
Vehicle Mechanics are responsible for the repair and maintenance of all wheeled and tracked vehicles used by the British Army including heavy armoured vehicles such as the Challenger 2 main battle tank; light tracked vehicles such as the fleet of Warrior armoured fighting vehicles and wheeled vehicles such as the Mastiff and Foxhound Protected Mobility fleet.
The role of a Vehicle Mechanic is to work out what’s gone wrong with the vehicle and then to repair it. After around 20 weeks of technical training you will be taught to drive many of the vehicles you will be called upon to maintain and inspect, so you will gain your Cat C (Car) and Cat C (HGV) driving licences as a minimum.
There are 3 main roles of the Technical Support Specialist (TS Spec) - to look after these tools and pieces of equipment, to deliver ‘life support’ to the tradesmen in the REME and to deliver military training to soldiers in their unit.
After passing courses in Technical Stores accounting you will be able to progress onto instructional courses in weapon handling, tactics, first aid, navigation, chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear defence. You will then help train your colleagues in these skills. If you excel at delivering instructional periods then you could be selected to instruct in a Phase 1 (basic military training) or Phase 2 (technical training) training establishment.
Aircraft Technicians are responsible for carrying out maintenance of the mechanical systems on the Army’s manned aircraft including Apache, Lynx and Wildcat helicopters and unmanned aircraft including Watchkeeper and Desert Hawk 3.
The maintenance of these aircraft will include inspection, fault diagnosis, repair and modification of aircraft structures, engines and mechanical systems.
Once any aircraft maintenance is complete, Aircraft Technicians have to certify their work and prepare the aircraft for flight. The ability to sustain high standards of engineering integrity whilst working under pressure and within demanding environments are essential for flight safety.
Avionics Technicians are responsible for carrying out maintenance on the electrical and electronic systems of the Army’s manned aircraft including Apache, Lynx and Wildcat helicopters and unmanned aircraft including Watchkeeper and Desert Hawk 3.
The maintenance of these aircraft will include inspection, fault diagnosis, modification and repair of avionic, electrical and weapons systems.
Once any aircraft maintenance is complete, Avionics Technicians have the necessary knowledge required to certify their work and prepare the aircraft for flight. The ability to sustain high standards of engineering integrity whilst working under pressure and within demanding environments are essential for flight safety.
Electronics Technicians maintain and modify the electronic systems within a vast array of military equipment ranging from fighting vehicles to communication equipment and surveillance systems.
Amongst the equipment you will get to maintain are some of the most sophisticated pieces of equipment in the Army to date. During their career Electronics Technicians will become experienced in the technical aspects of many areas including telecommunications, radar, electronic counter measures, lasers, thermal Imaging and weapon control systems.
8 Trg Bn REME is the UK’s largest electronic and mechanical engineering teaching establishment. At any time there are around 1,500 soldiers at 8 Trg Bn REME undertaking career and equipment courses and gaining transferable qualifications ranging from National Vocational Qualifications to Degrees.
8 Trg Bn REME prides itself on delivering training using modern techniques and the latest learning technologies. All training activities are focused around a new e-learning system with an associated Virtual Learning Environment to enable all trainees access to any necessary teaching material 24 hours a day and from the comfort of their own surroundings.
The accommodation for Phase 2 soldiers at 8 Trg Bn REME is made up of single-sex four person rooms. Living in Army accommodation is not like living at home and trainees must adhere to the standards of tidiness and rules of behavior that they have been taught during Phase 1 training.
Phase 2 soldiers share accommodation with other members of their course, but there is still a reasonable amount of privacy for the individual. All bedding is provided, and is regularly laundered, although trainees can use their own bedding if they wish to. Shared single-sex bathroom facilities and shared kitchenette facilities are also provided in the accommodation.
The welfare of all Phase 2 soldiers at 8 Trg Bn REME is the Commanding Officer’s top priority. There are a number of agencies to assist the Commanding Officer with providing the appropriate support for all soldiers. Many are located in the Battalion Welfare Village (within the barracks) while others are in easy reach within the Garrison.
The postcode for satnav users (which should not be solely relied upon) is SN15 4PZ.
The nearest railway station is Chippenham through which First Great Western operates a regular rail service, but check with National Rail Enquiries for a timetable. There is a bus service that runs from the train station to Lyneham.
8 Training Battalion REME
After completing your Phase 2 technical training, you will usually complete an equipment course. The equipment course will qualify you to work on the type of vehicles or equipment used at your first unit which could be a Light Aid Detachment or a REME Battalion.
Then after about 3-4 years of using your trade skills, deploying on exercise and operations and enjoying all of the opportunities that the Army has to offer, you will return to 8 Trg Bn REME to complete your Upgrader trade training. Your Upgrader training will provide you with an even greater depth of technical understanding of your trade, with the skills and knowledge to supervise less experienced soldiers in your trade and enable you to conduct safety critical inspections of the Army’s fleet of vehicles.