Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officer

Now hiring: we are now accepting applications for this job through Direct Entry and Paid Education.

Job description

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers maintain and support all Army equipment, and the land-based equipment of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force. They are commissioned members of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Branch of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers lead the soldier technicians who keep equipment in top condition and work in every equipment life-cycle phase, from design, evaluation and acquisition through in-service support to eventual disposal. Their duties involve leading staff and providing specialized engineering knowledge. They lead a team of highly skilled technicians of the Vehicle, Weapon, Electronic-Optronic and Materials occupations.

Transcript

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officer

CAPTAIN MALLORY LITJENS: I’m Captain Mallory Litjens, from Ottawa, Ontario, a RCEME Officer posted with the 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Petawawa.

CAPTAIN NICK GOULET: And I’m Captain Nick Goulet, from Ottawa, Ontario, a Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officer, posted to CFB Borden.

NARRATOR: Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers, or RCEME Officers, are leaders in the field, commanding groups of vehicle, weapons, electronic-optronic and materials technicians who are responsible for maintaining military equipment.

LITJENS: The Regiment needs its equipment to be maintained, and that equipment has four different types of technicians who are working to solve that problem, to make sure that the Regiment has what it needs to deploy and be operational. I’m that piece that links all those technician trades together.

GOULET: There’s kind of two aspects to the job: one job is the management and the leadership of a group of extremely smart, innovative technicians who love problem-solving. The second part, there’s elements of the job where you’ll help with the procurement, the design and the management of the lifecycle of a vehicle or of any piece of equipment. For RCEME Officers it’s very important to be a solid, concrete leader, who has the ability to take a problem and find a good way of resolving that problem and then communicating that to your technicians.

LITJENS: I cannot repair an M777. I don’t know how to do that. I can’t go fix a transmission on an HLVW, that’s not something I’ve ever learned. So, I rely heavily on the techs to do that job for me.

GOULET: Our technicians are very smart, they’re innovative, they’re problem solvers, they want to solve that problem and working with them every day is a… it’s a blessing.

GOULET: The coolest part of the job for me so far has been deploying in operations in Afghanistan where I got to support, you know, equipment doing an actual overseas operation. And also, I got to go to various exercises in Germany, Venezuela, Australia, some other countries. Got a lot of travel, going to different bases across Canada and across the world, helping to support those equipment fleets and working in conjunction with other militaries.

LITJENS: I was fortunate to deploy as a Lieutenant as the Logistics DART Platoon Commander. I deployed to Nepal after the earthquakes. It was very intimidating going over to a country not only that just suffered a disaster, but having to go there to help them as well as try to manage a job that I was very new to. However, this deployment was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

NARRATOR: Once they’ve completed their training, RCEME Officers are posted to one of the many Canadian Armed Forces bases across the country – generally to a large workshop, where they will lead a group of up to 40 technicians who maintain a wide range of equipment. They act as technical advisors to their commanders. They may even have the opportunity to work with Canadian Special Operations Forces.

LITJENS: When you first get posted, you are automatically involved with troops, you’re in charge of people who have significantly more experience than you in the army. You have Sergeants, you have Warrants, who you are now, all of a sudden, responsible for and it is very intimidating.

GOULET: And some of those people will be as old as your parents. But once you realize that everyone’s on your side and everyone wants to solve those problems, that fear factor goes away.

LITJENS: You learn how to use your Senior NCOs’ experience, you learn how to use your Corporals’ knowledge and you end up finding a balance of how that makes you a better officer. You learn how to incorporate their skills and use them to help you do your job.

NARRATOR: RCEME Officers can also be employed in other technical or logistical staff officer roles and at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, where they can expect to work on procurements or engineering projects at the strategic level, influencing and making decisions on the equipment that the Canadian Armed Forces will use for years to come.

LITJENS: It’s not every day that you get to be shipped off to a different country and you get to interact and learn what this population needs, what they have suffered, how you can help them. And being able to actually say you went over somewhere and helped other people, to me that’s amazing.

GOULET: When you go on operations, now instead of supporting training, you’re supporting soldiers that are going out and putting their lives on the line for Canada and for our national interest. Working in operations was an excellent opportunity, an excellent learning opportunity, an excellent chance to work closely, day in, day out, with a bunch of motivated individuals, solving problems that actually mattered.

LITJENS: At the age of 21, I was in charge of 45 people. You’re going to tell me that in a civilian role, you can have that equivalence? I don't think so. The relationships that you build in the military versus civilian world, you count on people; you rely on these people to do a good job.

GOULET: The most rewarding part to me is seeing those young technically proficient technicians and soldiers, seeing that they have a great idea and supporting them in the implementation of that idea.

LITJENS: I pinch myself every day. It’s not every day that you can sincerely say that you love the job you’re doing, and I love the job I’m doing. I love the lifestyle I’m leading and it’s all because I joined the military and because I’m a RCEME Officer, and – I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Overview

Working environment

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with working in different environments. Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers are employed at bases and garrisons across Canada and on deployed operations around the world. In the field or on deployment they may work outdoors.

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers are first posted generally to a large workshop, where they lead a group of up to 30 technicians who maintain a wide range of equipment. Under the guidance and supervision of more senior officers they make the technical, administrative and training decisions for their team.

Pay and career development

The starting salary for a fully trained Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officer is $49,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and on the length of service as an officer. Once promoted to the rank of Captain their salary is approximately $79,000. To meet the requirements of certain specialized appointments, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers may be given opportunities for graduate education.

Related civilian occupations

  • Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Metallurgical and Manufacturing Engineers
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer

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Training

Basic military officer qualification

After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 15 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the CAF, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.

Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.

Common army phase

After basic training, you will go to the Infantry School at the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick. You will build upon the leadership training you received in basic officer training in addition to learning the skills required of all Combat Arms Soldiers, including more advanced weapons-handling, field-craft, and section-level tactics.

Professional training

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers attend the Infantry School at the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick. They build upon the leadership and other skills training they received and develop the skills required of all Army officers, including more advanced weapons-handling, field-craft and section-level tactics. They also continue the rigorous fitness-training and sports program.

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers then apply their field skills to maintenance operations and begin to apply their engineering skills to military technology. Through classroom instruction and practical work, they learn the maintenance engineering requirements of combat and special-purpose vehicles, land weapons, electronic and optronic sensors, and instrumentation and communications systems. Training also covers safe handling and storage of petroleum products and ammunition.

Throughout the final stages of training, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers learn the tactical deployment of a Maintenance Company comprising about 200 Soldier maintainers and 100 vehicles. They control and plan the workload of a maintenance organization, and to handle unit-level personnel administration.

Specialty training

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Ammunition Technical Officer
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Guided Weapons System

Advanced training

As they progress in their career, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include Advanced Ammunition Engineering.

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Entry plans

Now hiring: we are now accepting applications for this job through direct entry and paid education.

Direct entry

If you already have a university degree, the CAF will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.

Paid education

Regular Officer Training Plan

Because this position requires a university degree, the CAF will pay successful recruits to complete a Bachelor degree program at a Canadian university. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full pay in exchange for working with the Forces for a period of time.

Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In some instances, the CAF is able to pay for Officer Cadets to attend other Canadian universities in a relevant degree program. Officer Cadets who attend other Canadian universities typically attend university during the regular academic year and participate in additional military training during the summer months. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the CAF and the Canadian university of your choice. For more information, see Paid education.

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Part-time option

This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Army

Serve with the Reserve Force

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at an Air Force Wing in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Part-time employment

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers serve with the Canadian Army and maintain and support all Forces land-based equipment. They lead a soldier team of highly skilled technicians and provide the team with specialized engineering knowledge. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis they usually serve with military units at locations within Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic officer training, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers attend the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick and then the Canadian Forces School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in Borden, Ontario to achieve their qualification.

Working environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.

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