The below is from the ACMB RoD CADET FORCE(CF) 2020 STRATEGY - VISION, INTENT AND SCHEME OF MANOEUVRE (LINES-OF-EFFORT). This is an interesting read and this is a presume how they see life at the coal face. This is not a picture that I and I emphasise I as other wings may be different but in my wing it is not the case

• LoE 5 – CFAV
 Where sufficient numbers of capable and motivated adult volunteers are attracted and retained, who see the Cadet movement as a worthwhile and advantageous experience. Where they are provided with development opportunities and their significant contribution is appropriately recognised and valued. Further, where in undertaking their role, their administrative burden has been minimised through improved effective support.
o Effects achieved - Sufficient numbers of CFAVs who have:
 Terms & Conditions of Volunteering (T&COV), which recognise and value their contribution.
 The ability to achieve nationally recognised qualifications and status.
 Their administrative burden minimised through improved effective support.

Does HQAC have a recruiting strategy. Does HQAC produce a notional awareness raising and recruiting campaign? Is there a retention strategy?

Effects achieved??? Are there sufficient numbers of CFAVs in the ACO? Not in my wing 23 sqns with only 45 officers and 3 units run by NCOs. Many others with only one officer and none with an OC and 3 others inline with the scaling requirements.
Also they recognise the value of its officers T and CoVs so much that they intend to downgrade our commissions.
Finally the final statement about the admin I would do to far as say is an outright lie. Both in the fact of minimising admin and effective support. There is no support from HQAC and where is the improvement.

Fully agree with you on the numbers of CFAVs. In my local area alone there are 3 squadrons with minimal staff. 2 are run by SNCOs and my current squadron has 2 officers and no SNCOs. (obviously that this is the reason for the eagerness to get me into uniform). Do HQAC and the powers that be really not know what is going on at Sqn level or is it a case that they do and it is being ignored? If the latter is the case then it seems that staffing is not the only issue where heads are buried but the notable absence of gliding and a lack of focus on how to deal with the issue and pass down relevant information to wing/Sqn level. I’m only a new member of staff so I’m still getting to grips with the ACO politics but it appears that the whole system is a complete mess of “us and them” with regards to senior staff feelings towards Squadrons.

Thankfully I wasn’t drinking coffee when I read this.
I don’t know any staff who don’t see the cadets as a worthwhile and advantageous experience for cadets. The problem for many staff is the lack of understanding / support from on high.
Nationally recognised qualifications maybe, BUT you have to have the workplace experience and knowledge first. One of my staff has an AFA and was told by his employer it wasn’t enough to be recognised as a first aider in the company and would have to do a full 4 day FAW.
Recognised and valued … nope don’t feel like that.
Improved effective support … surely there needs to be effective support before it can be improved? Lord knows what they feel is improved.

Recruitment and retention, the age old conumdrum. Until they actually get a proper view of what life is like for the average CFAV ie job, family and other interests and that we form the target audience for any recruitment campaign, they will always struggle. What on earth does the Corps and in reality the average squadron have to offer to the bloke or woman coming of the street with no previous? Or even those with previous as a cadet or regular?
The Armed Forces struggle with recruitment as I understand it, as they haven’t grasped that the 18-25 age group of today has different expectations from life, compared to previous generations. This affects the Reserves as well, as they have moved far, far away from the old TA “weekend warrior”.

The ACOs recruitment strategy for years has been from what I have seem is lie about expectations as uniformed staff, blind the 18-20s with BS and shower them with plaudits to make them think being uniformed staff is the best thing since sliced bread, as they don’t have the life experience to make a critical judgement about what is on offer. Then cut them off at the knees if they fail to comply and become CIs or ignore them if they do go into uniform and get a real life, unless they are regarded as golden ones. I’ve got 3 former cadets who are all CIs and because they won’t play ball Wing aren’t keen. My WSOs try to lure them away on the pretence of development, but the squadrons they want them to go to are infamous for putting ex-cadets into uniform. As it is they are happy enough where they are and it’s not 10 miles away.

The profile of the ideal CFAV is
living with mum and dad so that haven’t got to worry about anything or divorced and no kids
prepared to suck up to anyone Sqn Ldr plus or WWOs as they like their egos massaged
confirmed batchelor/spinster/divorced with no interests or social life (outside the ACO) and
a job which is Mon-Fri 9-5.
They can do all the courses without any distractions like familes that demand time and effort or jobs that have shift/odd working patterns and have a disposable income they can spend on / doing cadet things.

you missed "office/desk based to be able to deal with multiple daily emails (for Adj/OCs at least) and complete ACO work while at work

That’s not the ACO’s fault, and there would be lots of people complaining if the ACO required FAAW instead of just AFA.

Hopefully it offers them a good time instructing cadets and meeting other like-minded staff members, a chance to develop their leadership skills, and the opportunity of a few transferable qualifications (eg. AT quals, minibus license, CVQO, etc.) These are what I advertise my squadron as, and I think it’s what we give our staff.

Saying that, the staff on my squadron seem to have much more fun on a normal parade night than other nearby squadrons do. We try to work hard, play hard, and even then we always try to ‘work smarter’ rather than ‘working harder’. The biscuit jar, and the boss’s door, are always open, and the attitude is generally optimistic and supportive. Two of our staff attend one night a week, and our other CI works shifts and can’t be sure of his availability even in the short term, but we manage what we can, and it works.

When it comes to how squadrons operate they are fickle beasts; staff come/go (ergo skills, knowledge, time to do things, personalities etc), changes in member(s) of staff working life and or personal life, as a result the dynamics change and what is a settled system can go out of the window. You may be in that good place at the moment which is blinding, but as you say it’s not everywhere.

But it is all well and good advertising nationally recognised qualifications, but what are they and where/how are they recognised, what do you have to do to achieve them, is there a cost (excluding time) attached? This isn’t fully explained in the blurb, just taglines. If you put the time, money (potentially) and effort in and they’re not recognised by employers in their own right what use do they have? What you need to have is testimonials from current staff who can categorically say I got this or that job because I had this and not as I suspect I’ve been doing similar work with accrued knowledge, experience and contacts and this tipped it slightly in my favour. Not really a selling point.
I asked our personnel dept about ILM and CVQO and they said they would be looked as part of the overall package, but you would need appropriate job/role specific skills / knowledge / experience primarily. I can imagine AT qualifications and DofE assessor potentially have validity in the AT industry.

You need something that appeals to a mass audience in order to get a couple of ‘buyers’, until this is realised we will continue to only recruit largely from within. Is there any analysis as to why staff recruitment campaigns are so spectacularly unsuccessful, before embarking on another one? How do you make the organisation appeal to the ordinary women or blokes seeing an advert in a magazine etc? Then once hooked how do you get them through the door of the local squadron within a week and ‘on the books’ within a month? The CI recruitment process doesn’t lend itself to this at all.
“A warm fuzzy feeling” of helping etc is nice, but how do you sell that in a recruitment campaign in the context of all the other stuff that is neither warm or fuzzy, ie evenings after a crappy day at work, weekends / part weekends when you have other things to do at home, but have to be covered?

Ultimately we are a volunteer youth organisation, where the people in charge have never done what we as volunteer staff do and IMO as a result don’t actually recognise you are volunteering in your own time and to that end as the volunteer you decide what you will and or won’t/don’t want to do. But then you get the you get events that require seeking permission to not attend, which isn’t volunteering. If I have something else to do with the family and decide I’m not going I shouldn’t have to ask. We have ‘compulsory’ parades and still parents decide last minute they are doing something else, so the cadets don’t turn up. What do you do, get all snotty at the cadet who is afterall powerless or the parents?

maybe the real question is WHO do we want/NEED.

is the ordinary Joe on the street going to be the right person. would ex-Cadets, ex-service personnel be a better pool to recruit from?
how much encoragement is paid to leaving Cadets, or approached 2/3 after leaving to invite them back? how many leaving service personnel are encouraged into the Cadet forces…and again contated 2/3 years later once the transition to civi life has been made?

we have three CIs atm who were all once Cadets once upon a time but left and came back 3-5 years later…of their own accord. should we not be trying to recruit from that pool which has already proven successful without effort?

i daren’ guess the number of ex regulars in the Wing, there is always someone knew i find out about, or a history of someone i have learnt…there are plenty amounsgt the ranks so why not approach the “like minded”/right minded people first?

I feel we need/want new blood in the organisation’s staff gene pool, not just “golden wonder” ex-cadets or ex-service bods who might tick the right boxes and I’m an ex-cadet so you would have thought I’d be up for more of the same. But then I personally think we should ditch just having ex-service at HQAC etc and get some real people running the organisation and just not people who feel they aren’t quite ready for the pipe and slipppers and want to continue living the dream.

The idea of approaching former cadets a few years down the line comes across as a bit desperate.

I think we need to advertise in one of two ways; all lights blazing about personal development blah, blah, blah OR just come along and help with none of the other BS. I’d favour the latter.

The unfortunate thing is the only people likely to be persuaded to become staff, in any numbers, are cadets / ex-cadets as they are numbed to the rhetoric and constant badgering.

With respect to people coming ‘off the street’, I don’t think, initially, after a day’s work want to be thinking about ‘personal development’ in a supposedly fun voluntary role, you get enough of that 5 or 7 days a week, but you get a wodge in the bank each month to make it worthwhile / bearable. They want to be doing things with cadets not worrying rom day one about developing a “career” in a voluntary organisation. Anything regarding personal development should come later once people have decided if they want to stay and do something extra on their terms. I’ve seen potential staff made extremely uncomfortable, as Wing Staff do the timeshare or door knocking salesmen act, putting the pressure on to doing things. I’ve always found people will go which way they want in their own time, as they have thought about it and evaluated what it means to them personally with respect to their real lives. Give people space to make decisions in their own time and in my experience you are more likely to retain them. This might not suit the general thinking of get them in and get them into uniform so we can control them.

However it all comes to nothing because the people running the show do not understand the people they already have in the Corps. People don’t leave because they are fed up with doing things for seemingly ungrateful teenagers, they leave because they get fed up with the way the organisation is run and treats people as a whole.

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Very much like the RAF, cadets take less to train, stay in longer than those who served as cadets and hit the ground running faster. Anecdotally they cause less problems because they don’t try and align it to a workplace/school/PTA.