Air cadet corporal

So my squadron puts up a promotion board every year for anyone aspiring to be a corporal.
I really want to apply and I felt fairly confident about it. However after parade a member of staff from squadron went to have a little chat with a couple of cadets telling them to apply to corporal. Well I was a little disappointed because I wasn’t one of them.

I don’t quite understand why I wasn’t chosen as I’ve been trying to become a corporal for a year. I have good uniform , good drill, I come every parade night, attend all the activities and volunteering events (no matter how boring they can be) and I also help with the sweeping and washing every night. I also have good behaviour and don’t mess around.

I don’t understand why the staff don’t let me progress. As another situation was I had to do my leading twice because I didn’t finish one exam but some of the other cadets didn’t even complete their leading but got to move onto their senior master. Also the cadets who the member of staff had a conversation with do not sweep, were aloud to go straight to senior master (without finishing their leading) and hardly attend anything off squadron (as most of the time they sign up but don’t attend they also don’t help out with the sweeping before final parade.
I’m starting to think that the staff are only promoting their “favourite cadet” which is just unfair. I don’t know if all squadrons are like this though.

So I don’t Understand why I can’t be promoted to cpl. What am I missing to become a cpl?

Help please.

Thanks in advance

Dont despair.
It may well be the case that they just didnt feel you needed the encouragement to apply, that it was known you would anyway.

Furthermore “a couple of staff” telling a couple of cadets to apply means nothing. As it’s an OC who makes the decision.

Apply and do your best! Good luck!


When I was a Cadet it took me nearly four years to get to Cpl, don’t give up.

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I would say exactly what Paracetamol has…

Don’t feel that you “haven’t been chosen”, as no choice has been made yet. Apply and show them what you’ve got.

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To add, it’s equally important to remember that, if you’re not successful do remember to ask for what areas they think you should work on.

Get a time frame for review and a list of areas that you can tick off.


Can’t you just apply anyway? Surely it isn’t an invite only kind of thing?

Personally I’d like it if cadets took it on themselves to apply rather than having to be told to!


I’ll second all of the above. If I’ve heard of someone not planning to apply when I think they should then I encourage them to. It doesn’t mean that they are a shoe-in for it, but I put the point across that if they don’t apply, they’ll never get it, if they do then they might, and if they still don’t then it’s experience gained.

For me, it’s a balancing act - we need at least enough applicants to fill any available positions, but it’s best to have legitimate applicants. On the other side, if we only had enough to fill the slots EVERY time then it devalues the process as it seems that applying is promotion by default. But we do then need to be able to properly cater for anyone who isn’t successful.

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I set a pass mark, if people don’t reach it I leave vacancies.

I concluded a round of promotions recently, I had 3 spaces and only promoted 2.

We don’t promote those not ready.

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Can you share your workings for this, I kinda like the idea as part of the process

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Nothing…from what you say, you’re exactly what is required in a Corporal.

Can’t add much to what has already been said but it does sound like there is no restrictions on who should apply and therefore you should. At the very least you will gain from the experience.

If you have a SWO then go ask them what, in his or her opinion, do you need to do become a Corporal. This is not about the process but more about what they think you need to do or change to get promoted. I’m not sure how it works on your Sqn but at ours the recommendations come from the SWO and then after discussion with OC the decision is made. At no point would the OC promote unless the SWO had made the recommendation. If you have no SWO then pick a member of uniformed staff and ask the question. Think of it as a development chat.

Regarding cadets skipping classifications… cadets should only start the next level when they have a confirmed pass on Ultilearn. There is no point in anyone jumping the queue because the pass dates of the exams are recorded and therefore taking Master etc before leading would show up.

My only other comment would be to avoid the “them and me” statements when talking to the staff about promotions. It’s fine on here as long as nobody knows who you are but it will come across really negatively at a squadron level. Any staff worth their salt will have notice the effort you put in and the more you try to get recognised for this verbally the worse it will get. I completely understand the frustration you feel but the effort you put in is benefiting the Squadron and yourself in more ways you will ever realise.

Good luck and go for it.


When promotion applications on my squadron, many people who were approached weren’t promoted, but some people who weren’t approached were promoted. I was promoted last month and I’ve been in for three years, don’t give up. It’s worth your time.

It’s not the be all and end all and you should concentrate on enjoying the ATC and getting as much out of it as possible.
I didn’t get promoted to Cpl for 3¾ years, I’d got to the point where I didn’t think it would happen. But I was doing all the things I could and if it never happened so what, I was having a good time. I made CWO in just over 18 months from that initial promotion.
I don’t do the application and interview process as I can’t see, given we work inside a very, very, very small bubble and only promote from within that bubble ie the squadron, that it wouldn’t tell me more than I and the other staff already know about an individual. I don’t want a manifesto of “what I’m going to do is”, but won’t be able to. It’s not like we put cadet NCO vacancies to local squadrons where we don’t know the cadets and may need to speak to them and their staff. I know from chatting to a CO who’s done application and interview for a number of years, said there are no surprises in the promotions, that is no one they weren’t considering gets promoted.