2020 Vision - a 2018 review

A vague recollection of an ATC 2020 vision came to mind during some day dreaming when a similar title was mentioned during my day and so wondered how well the ACMB/HQAC/Organisation has delivered on what it set out to achieve.

I found the linked document (search on sharepoint 2020 vision) written in 2014…6 years of work ahead, now 4 years on what have we seen change?

2020 Vision - SharePoint link


ACO. Funding for the gliding fleets, both in terms of maintenance and extending the lifetime of the airframes, has been identified to ensure delivery of cadet gliding beyond 2015.

Ironically it was 2014 we saw the fleet “paused” - a case of too little to late?

wgs and VGSs. A trial to conduct limited outsourcing of basic cadet gliding at British Gliding Association clubs and with the RAF Gliding and Soaring Association will be conducted this year to establish the viability of such activity to augment VGS delivery.

at a guess that trial didn’t go too well (or maybe went too well???)

Cadet CV

Reg Comdt has led some impressive work in developing a professional Cadet CV, aimed at capturing the achievements of every cadet in all areas of the cadet experience and translating that into language of use to potential employers and educational institutions.

I can’t say i have anything positive to say on the Cadet CV then or now!


The 3rd most popular cadet activity, shooting is one of the hardest for the staff and volunteers to deliver given the plethora of legislation and regulations that surround the use of weapons and ammunition. The review will make recommendations for the future sustainability of cadet target shooting.

I can’t say the admin burden of shooting activities has gone down and with the loss of 0.22" shooting for the organisation i am curious how popular shooting remains in the eyes of those Cadets we see today

Age brackets (upper and lower age limits)

The upper age limit for air cadets (currently 20) is also under review, particularly as the ACF has recently announced its intent to stop cadet membership at 18. This will be the subject of further work with cadets and volunteers and we aim to make proposals to inform the autumn ACMB

The lower age limit reduced, but 4 years on after this document was written still no closer to reducing the upper age limit - lots of talk about it (4 years worth) but the light is not even lit at the end of this tunnel on when we can expect this to occur (if indeed it will)

Adult volunteers terms of service

…therefore leading a team of staff and volunteers in a comprehensive review to address, inter alia, the status of volunteers, selection, progression, training, remuneration, etc.

the status of the Commissioned officers has changed (argubly not for the better) but I can’t say anything else has progressed?

Recruitment Campaign

(b). Given the high priority placed on adult volunteers, we are developing an adult volunteer recruitment campaign, our first for a number of years. A team, led by the Head of Media & Comms and supported by a cross-section of adult volunteers, will launch new literature and merchandise in the Spring of 2014 and will also exploit, where possible, social media, volunteering websites, etc.

Did this occur? may it did and i missed it?


our ability to communicate up, down and across the ACO was identified as another high priority and, in late 2012, we invited an external consultant to conduct a “warts and all” review of our internal communications…some significant progress has been made and we have introduced an effective alert system for key safety messages; social media is also being used to full advantage by the Comdt

i guess this explains why we see CAC on Social media so much, although not sure what else has been progressed…?

Admin Burden Reduction

The administrative burden on staff and volunteers is a known de-motivator and leads to ineffective and inefficient processes. Gp Capt M and the ACO Budget Manager are co-leading this work and hope to deliver meaningful changes in Apr 14, with a further package of enhancements later in the year.

Does anyone recall anything happening to reduce admin in April 2014…or since?


k. Charitable Support One area yet to be addressed is the ACO’s relationship with the RAF Museums and this will be a priority for 2014.

has this happened? A priority for 2014 which 4 years later I don’t recall has happened…has anyone any experience of positive engagement with the museums?


2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the ATC and we are beginning to draw together outline plans for how to mark this significant milestone, hopefully capitalising on our cadets’ music and ceremonial skills.

Without wanting to be completely negative about the vision i have to say that the engagement target was met and something what was achieved with lots occuring with the D&C camp with its combined effort with the band at RAFC Cranwell…

i know many will respond indicating that these visions are simply dreams of what Management want to achieve not necessarily wish to or even have the ability to.
“Visions” are management spin and simply words not actions that sound impressive to the right people.

the last 4-5 years has seen a fair amount occur for the RAFAC (as we are now) without necessarily any major changes i what it is we do or how we do it (the biggest change i have seen still remains to be BADER/Email/SharePoint) and as much as these Visions are nice words, i find it interesting 18 months away from its title’s suggested deadline how much has been forgotten, tried with little success or implementation, or internally reviewed with no follow up and how far away the organisation is from achieving this vision…


Loss of .22 shooting? I know the new weapon is a tad suspect but it’s there at least.

The money was spent on the 75th Jolly instead I believe.

They sacked the admin burden reduction team to save on all the admin they were making.

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Check the 2025 one for a comparison…

Of all things though this was the easiest thing to do, given all the pace stick wielders around the ATC wanting something to do. Also there was little involvement from HQAC bods other than swanning around for selfies.

The upper age reduction for cadets has to be done, so we can focus dwindling resources and activities and have a target age group, as we are now spreading things a little too thin and I cannot see what the Corps offers over 18s now, other than being lackeys.

Retention of the 15½-17 year olds is something that needs to formally addressed and maybe turning the ATC into a one night a week organisation is a way to do this, so that cadets doing GCSEs (which now start in Year 9) and later 6th Form/FE College when faced with homework etc, don’t need to try and do 2 nights. This would then free huts to potentially be let for other groups (with limited access say rooms, kitchen and toilets) and part of the revenue going to the squadron.

in our Wing no Units have the No8 held in Sqn Armouries and we’re still waiting for L144 - its been 6+ months since I have known any local 0.22" taking place.

perhaps we’re the unlucky ones at the bottom of the L144 distribution list? But i have heard those who had them delivered first have been recalled due to faults?

I was told it was more to do with RAF Armouries not releasing them, due to no alarms on sqn arms’ cabinets I seem to recall.

That is an ongoing issue along with all the modifications being required they are slowing down distribution of them to they are in more central locations to have the approved fixes applied.

either way - the delivery of the L144 has started some time ago yet it hasn’t reach us yet - at our parent station or otherwise the delivery is not going well despite that target being written in the same year it started!

The weapons are out there. Most are sat at parent stations with big red and white warning labels on…

that does not indicate to be “delivered” - to parent stations yes, but not to those who should be using them.

The cadet experience


…to an increasing number of young people (50,000 by 2018) and so inspire young people to learn and develop new skills.


… to as many young people as our resources, financial and human, can sustain, inspiring them to learn and develop new skills

Removed the increase to a set figure – recognition that as big as the RAFAC could get it still needs to be supported by the same system, with the same budget, resource, Squadrons and CFAV despite the ever growing squeeze and reduction on all of these. :+1:

The Adult Volunteer


To sustain and improve the Organisation and so provide the best possible support to our adult volunteers, to minimise risk and deliver safe activity to cadets.


Sustaining and improving the RAFAC in order to provide the best possible support to our staff and volunteers so as to minimise administrative processes, manage risk, and deliver safe activity to cadets.

Specific mention of minimise admin processes :+1:

From here on in very difficult to offer direct comparison as the two documents differ in style, however points to pick out of the 2025


  • Define the minimum offer of activities that should be made available to every cadet on each unit.
  • Provide cadet gliding and flying opportunities via approved civilian providers in as many locations as possible.
  • Maximise the quantity of flying and gliding opportunities being offered by AEF and VGS.

This to me sounds like
1 we can expect real change in what flying/gliding looks like in the RAFAC - i wont hold my breath just yet :confused:

2 prescribing what Squadrons are to provide as a minimum. (how this will be measured is another story, “offering a navigation walk” or a “shooting opportunity” and offering enough places for all are two different measures. Offering 10 places/year for 40 Cadets is “offering the activity” regardless of the success rate.


  • Remove all unnecessary admin processes and standardise and minimise all necessary processes.
  • Invest in and develop improved Electronic Ways of Working.
  • Develop standardised, generic TORs for all key CFAV roles.
  • Develop a Complaints Process that is transparent and clearly understood by all.

Sounding optimistic now but does read as a “must and desirables” list written by the CFAVs rather than wishes and hopes from the Ivory Towers (it is not as that list is impressive or gains brownie points with those up the chain) :+1:

“to Deliver, where possible, dedicated cadet accommodation at all RAF MOBs.”

Is this not what we understand as RACS? With the loss of stations by 2029 will there be enough Stations open to have more than 6/one per region?

“to Deliver a replacement for the No 8 cadet rifle.”

Interesting this is in the vision released in 2017 – this could be seen as an “easy win” given the roll our started in 2017 but does worry me that its 7 years away to complete the “delivery” and interesting is doesn’t specifically indicate the L144A1 :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


  • Continue to engage our Royal Patron and Honorary Ambassador to promote the RAFAC.

sounds like we can expect to see more of Kate and Carol! :+1:

Sounds like more ‘blunty’ gobbledegook without actually achieving anything.


Sounds like the same old crap dressed up for the next few years.Then they will have another meeting in 2025 and tweak things a bit but by then the organisation may be in terminal decline.Talk about fiddling while Rome burns.


I don’t recall a local option for .22" for 2+ yrs. L144 - haven’t seen one yet, no concrete plan that I’m aware of for receipt / trg.

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What Region are you?

Is this where we could align more strongly with civilian aviation rather than military?

From what I can see the single biggest fear is the loss of the £26,000,000 or however much from the RAF, but apart from CFAV remuneration and travel etc an awful lot of this seems to be swallowed up by administrators and infrastructure in terms of full time staff pay and buildings, so probably not used to its best advantage for cadets.

I would suspect there are lot more opportunities within the civilian aviation sphere than military across the spectrum, but we seem tied to military side for no other reason than the money we get and giving something for RAF retirees to faff around with and play the RAF game.

Looking at annual camps over the past 4/5 years be they blue or green, they seem to be more about visits and other things and seem to heading down a big kids PGL route and I suspect it will carry on getting more and more like this, so do we need to use military estate?. There are a few specialist camps now, but they could continue without any RAF input. The STEM could be better served by involving a broader spectrum within this area based out of universities in the summer holidays and just visits to aviation firms and RAF bases where the latter have something relevant to offer.

Some of us old gits look at these “strategies” that come out and see they haven’t changed hugely in over 20 years. From what I can sort of recall, the sort of things in these are in essence just re-treads with a bit of word changing and the reason is, everything is too long term. What is the point of a 5, 7 or 10 year plan/’vision’? Cadets toady won’t benefit from it and those in the timespan won’t either, as something else will come up and focus will be lost. As staff as we are not paid and or otherwise involved, we have little or no reason based on our couple of nights a week, to have any enthusiasm to implement these, when our real jobs might be going tits up or at the very least be demanding more of us, without the curved balls family life chucks into the mix.

Another reason many of the things stay the same and haven’t changed and or the things haven’t happened, is that the people putting it together do not have any influence or control over any of it actually happening, the only things they can do it fiddle around with rules and regulations, most of which seem to be adaptations of things that come down from on high or if not and ATC only rules they get too excited about it all and make them essentially unworkable. There is no point in putting anything that you cannot directly affect the delivery of, in the case of the ACMB given they can’t do anything without permission and or it being agreed by 22 Gp or even Air Command, they only bother with these things to make it look like they are relevant, which again puts a question mark against the whole HQAC structure. I’ve seen massive rationalisation of management in my working life across the company and other companies I deal with, yet the good old public sector seems to keep and expand on management structures. If we were a business we would only have 2 RCs overseeing North and South and maybe a third for the middle.

One of the repeating things is staff and cadet recruitment and retention. There reason for failure is they see the two as the same, when they aren’t. There is mention over the last 10 years wrt pressures on volunteer staff across the board and as yet there is little or nothing to address this. Comments from 2014 and 2007 mention the pressures CFAV experience from their work (called primary career in 2014, like the ATC is a secondary career) and private lives impact how much time they have for Air Cadets and negative influencers within the ATC such and T&C of being a CFAV and the admin burden of running a squadron means people don’t want to do it.

If these things are repeatedly mentioned as problems, then the collective failure of HQAC to address these and remove them says it all really.

I don’t see if I’m getting more than 2 emails a week from anyone other than the staff etc on the squadron, as a recognition of admin burden. Speaking to our Legion branch secretary, he said he looks at his Legion emails once a fortnight and has on average 3 emails in that time, which is all we should be getting.

The training while not overly onerous (unless you want to try and do loads of different things) is irritating when it mostly needs renewing and this has to be done at the weekend or can involve taking time off work, for many unpaid in all respects. The irony is that probably higher RAF command levels introduced the need for NGBs and more formal training and then if this is seen as creating problems

If they are going to have things like these strategies, the shelf life should be no more than 3 years to retain focus and keep it well within their scope and sphere of influence. The repeated attempts at admin reduction should be within their scope and influence, yet it seems not and I do wish the fallacy of things being electronic as a reduction in admin was kicked into the long grass, admin is admin regardless of it being on paper or on a screen. There seems to be an ‘oh well’ acceptance of delivery when it comes to these things. I’ve known many people take jobs ‘outside the business’ as they haven’t been up to scratch, but not from HQAC.

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Yes it would be the same idea,
look how the British merchant navy is from when this decision was made and where it is now…

Perhaps the aviaton industry could follow…
So is the grass greener?

I am not going to debate in detail all the pros and cons but whilst it makes sense now… what about 10/15/25 years from now?
Everything should be looked to increase our abilities but it needs to be proper and long term


i would rather a very short, but focused 2/3 year plan, which can be worked at than a 15 point wish list of what the next 10 years might entail.

the gliding situation a prime example of this.
the plan was to extend the lifetime of the airframes - months later there was a pause which although we’re gliding again is effectively still in place as were not up to speed yet.

the next vision is years later, in Cadet terms, a generation later and that target, goal, intention, call it what you will isnt reviewed in all that time.
“well we’re in a pause now, we can “extend the lifetime of the fleet” as we don’t know what the fleet are doing”

from what i have heard RC SW has a pratical approach - get what isn’t working (ultilearn, gliding, internal communication) put right, before we (the organisation) start anything else new

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He/she is obviously a heretic to the blunty cause… burn him/her


i think you’ll find that applies to all the RCs, after all they’re the ones in the firing line of the volunteers.