Applying for Cpl

I’m a First Class Cadet who is 13 and joined in October 2022. I’m really looking forward to becoming a Cpl. I have spoke to staff about applying for corporal and they think I’m a good fit for a Corporal. I have 5 blue badges. My sqn has never said I needed to be 14 to apply but the thing that is putting me off from applying next time applications are open is that I have a lot of competition from cadets who have been here longer then me. Do you guys have any advice?

Btw I have EFA (essential first aid), Blue Leadership and have already gone flying in a Grob Tutor

We can’t tell you how it works on your sqn - every unit is different when it comes to promotions, there’s no single set standard, so any advice should be taken with a pinch of salt.

There’s nothing wrong with applying, regardless of whether you think you might be beaten out by others on your unit. Getting yourself known to be ambitious is never a bad thing. If you get the promotion, great. If not, you should get feedback on why not and where to improve.

For me, on my unit, what I’m looking for is an example to other cadets. Someone who gets the basics right, 9 times out of 10. Their uniform is always good, they show up, they can take the lead and demonstrate the correct behaviours.

I’d also like them to have done things at Wing level, and to be that same force for good among cadets they don’t know. This might mean they’ve done a bronze level course, or have gone on a weekend course.

I will just say… A promotion is not a given. It’s not automatic, not every cadet can or will get one. By all means be ambitious, but at the same time, don’t ever be disheartened if you don’t get something.


Welcome to the forum and thanks for getting involved.

I will have more to add that’s actual advice, others will probably jump in before, but for now I’m ignoring everything else and instead going to ask you a question:

Why do you “need” (want) promotion to Corporal?

It’s great to be keen to learn and develop, take on responsibility, etc, but that’s a question that you need to understand your answer to before heading into the process.


Thanks for the advice, I’ll take it on board

I want to be held to a higher standard and I’m a person who loves to help where they can and I believe that I have shown that to my sqn staff. I also like being in a role of power and being able to influence the cadets.

Change “power” for “responsibility” and you’ve got a good answer there.


Don’t be in too much of a rush to chase promotion, you only have 6 months service under your belt with potentially 7 years cadet service ahead of you. Enjoy your time as a cadet and widen your experience of the organisation, you will be a much stronger JNCO for it. The personnel regulations only state that you should ideally be a Leading Cadet but on my unit around 18 months service is the norm and it is also expected that you have good attendance, participate in a variety of activities and have attended a residential camp/course in addition to showing maturity and leadership potential. You might find the attached Corporal Role Specification helpful as a baseline to measure your current skills and knowledge against.


I was getting Sauron vibes for a minute there!


My main piece of advice for you is don’t rush yourself, you’ve been in for about 6 months - it took me just under 2 years to get my promotion to cpl!

My other bit of advice for you is to enjoy your time as a cadet and take every opportunity presented to you where possible. I remember I used to put my name down for pretty much anything that came up, and still do! (Just don’t take too much on or you risk burning yourself out)

best advice/answer so far.

Far better to have 12 months experience and know the “annual routine” of your Squadron to then talk with authority about experiences. Given you started in October it is unlikely you have been away on camp - this is not a +must+ for Cpl but as someone who is “a person who loves to help” you’d be well placed to advise Cadets who may approach you asking question on camps.

Even if you don’t go on a Summer camp, you’ll at least know more about it as you’ll know others who have been, and know about what their experience is…

I can only tell you what I’ve looked for in previous promotions, in addition to the usual soft-skills stuff.

  1. Does the cadet show up to both parade nights and off-squadron activities? (Even the best NCO in the world isn’t much use to me if they’re not present)

  2. Do they lead by example? (An NCO should be able to be looked up to by newer cadets)

  3. Do they help and coach other cadets? (A promotion should reflect the needs of both the individual, but also the squadron as a whole)

  4. Do they use their initiative? (NCOs should work together as a team to solve problems. This is less likely from someone who always needs to be told what to do)

  5. Do they understand and work on their flaws? (We all have flaws, and that’s absolutely fine… so long as we’re working to continuously improve upon them)

  6. Are they willing to do the rubbish jobs? (Goes back to leading by example - I would expect NCOs to be willing to do everything they ask of the cadets)

Hopefully that gives you a little bit to think about, and reflect upon yourself. However, my biggest piece of advice; don’t rush into being promoted. You can get away with the most mischief (and thus the most fun) without a rank.

I was one of 3 cadets who were tipped for promotion back in the day. I went in first and was asked all the basic questions but when it came to ‘Why do you think you should be promoted to Cpl’ My answer was simple, I’m not one who is looking for extra responsibilities and I’d prefer to stay as I am…the other 2 should get promoted as they are wanting it and I think they will do well’ I enjoyed just being a cadet. I wasn’t a badge chaser back then and our sqn staff were not that pushy…sorry positively encouraging :grimacing:

First off, welcome! I joined the month before you so i wont know too much more than recommend having good uniform e.g, shiny shoes. Theres appearance then theres the actual leadership. There will be a course where they teach you. But its important to note that there are different leadership styles. But thars only ok if you use the right amount of discipline at the right time, and also knowing when to ease up a bit. Dont waste time having a laugh. Have a sense of urgency and get things done AND perfect them. Especially if youre teaching drill. Dont keep them laughing the whole time but dont shout at them all the time. Being efficient and a bantery person will get you respect. Something your rank would only work having. So to summarise-

-excellent drill and uniform
-correct others on unifirm in a constructive way and tell them they did good when they improve
-be strict and authorative when they mess about too much
-dont be the serious scary one e.g have banter with people and have a laugh every once in a while
-and for goodness sake if someones doing something wrong CORRECT THEM

Its a very good start! Try going not only on events that help yourself, try going to the ones that are simple too. Like parades at the church. This can help widen the view of you community. It seems like youd be a great corporal! Just slow down a bit though you have so much to learn and go through as do i. Good luck and do your best

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