Back Again

Evenin’ all.

After a few years out following timing out as a cadet, I decided to come back earlier this year as a CI.
It’s been an interesting adjustment coming in to a squadron parading ~10 cadets having been used to parading 70+, but the staff have been incredibly welcoming and it’s been great to get back into such a rewarding hobby.

I’ve found myself lurking around the forum again, so thought I’d best sign up and start contributing. I’ve recently taken over as training officer, so I’m particularly interested in stealing parade night ideas!

This might not be exactly what you are after but this is what I’d say to a new Trg Off:
Start with a ‘skeleton’ plan 6-12 months out with all the key fixed dates in it (wing events, camps, DofE expeds, competitions, training courses). Then sit down with your OC and get CO’s parades locked down, any external speakers or visits, and ask him / her for their priorities for the coming months.
Block out the prep needed for the fixed stuff (practice for drill comp, exped planning or whatever) then block out the Syllabus nights for teaching. What’s left should cover greens (shooting/fieldcraft), the progressive badges (Radio, leadership etc) and any Sqn sports or social nights.
What remains then is your project/interest lesson/random fun stuff nights.
Key thing I found was to get the staff team involved from the outset and play to their strengths and time tables - including instructor cadets. The instructor / staff cadets should be able to do filler or last minute activities too - get them to plan some ahead for when the scheduled instructor falls through.
It’s the best job on the Sqn - best of luck and enjoy it


Thanks for that - all really useful advice.
I’ve felt I’ve been on the back foot so far, so having a longer term plan sounds like the way forward.

The Training Programme Creator might come in handy :slight_smile:

It then depends on the instructor/staff cadets being at the squadron, on those nights.
If you are going have older cadets doing things at least do the courtesy of getting them ‘planned in’ and not just there to do filler / last minute things.

How do you fix camps and DofE expeds into the plan? We generally work no more than 3 or 4 months in advance for DofE so that the amount of staff needed can provisionally commit to the dates. I know Gold are done well in advance, but the other two aren’t, or not with us. Camps affect so few cadets now as not to be worthy of mention. Four to six is not like the old days of 15-20 places per squadron, but then that was easy to deal with and just stand down. Now it’s no more of an embuggerance than people going on holiday.
Similarly Wing events, for us at any rate used to be announced well in advance but now not so. I would suggest the only things you can definitely put on a programme are RAFA Wings Appeal if you are involved and Poppy collecting and Remembrance parades, and national holidays. Everything else is fluid.

I would suggest however looking at borough and school websites to see when their holidays and other things are on school websites calendar/events page or parents letters to ensure that you plan in such a way to be sympathetic to the cadet’s availability and you don’t just crash along and then find the attendances aren’t as expected due to something happening at school.
As TO not really your remit to plan, but ensure the adult staff get sufficient time off to do family things especially at Christmas. We used to parade right up the last possible moment at Christmas and back straight in just after New Year, but for the last 6/7 years we have stood down with a clear week before Christmas and return in the second week of January. The last night of the year is bowling and pizza. I was finding that people went out with work 2 or 3 weeks before Christmas and invariably clashed with parade nights, being the cheaper nights of the week, so I felt it better to remove any concern about ATC. I’ve had no staff, parents or cadets complain.

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Some good points especially about staff leave!
I’ve still found it helps is to plan ahead as much as you can - whilst a DofE practice might not be fixed, if the DofE or AT officer says they’re thinking of one around Easter, then the TO can at least set aside time before for exped related training. Much easier to set the time aside and not need it, than have to redo the programme in a panic!

Rob a couple of the Cadet Direct wallplanners every Sqn seems to have and rough out your plan. That way if your Sqn SNCO asks for extra drill time before Remembrance you can say ‘yes already pencilled in’
Also talk to the lead instructor for each part of the training to get a feel for how many evenings they need.
From the Cadets’ point of view it’s nice to alternate, lots of Blue teaching back to back is too much like school - and a Greens or civvies / sports night before Remembrance or other ceremonial gives them more time to get uniform up to scratch

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Tend to agree with Teflon on that one - have activities delivered by cadets properly-programmed. I’d expect “off-the-cuff” stuff more from the experienced staff than I would from newer staff or cadets.

Maybe we are lucky but our snr Cdts can run flightsim and a few other activities that don’t need a lot of prep, and which the cadets enjoy. Probably more than they enjoy my lessons!