Firstly, all my characters have a subspace field mod.
Second would you rather be in random green and blue ship parts or a jem hadar set ?
Plus the actual skins of the sets from the episodes not counting their stats are worth going after.
Then of course you have the ship weapons you can pick from certain missions too, which if you don't have any EC's, are actually quite great weapons.
Granted though it takes heart to play the same mission 6 times in a row to gear your ship but it's free.
If he is sitting there with little exp and no EC's what would he use the repuation system for.
Reality is your ship equipment being blue from episodes is not important. Learning how to set up your ship and play the game is 90%, you can buy dirt cheap blue equipment off the exchange and unlock level X set gear quickly from reputation missions.