Cadet Direct producing Rank slides RAF Air Cadets


Here’s one to throw out there.
RAFA, RBL and Scouts run ‘shops’, could the ATC, or would HQAC more to the point be able, run its own shop and any profits go into the GPF, rather than lining someone’s pocket?
I know what this means in reality, but getting things from the organisation removes the questions like is it official etc etc that seem to get asked all the time.


Having sworn that I would not buy MTP rank slides. The complete ball ache of changing slides from one uniform to another made me change my mind(perhaps that’s what HQAC are hoping for).

I went to the official supplier, what crap. Poor stitching, poor quality, and made out of a cheap Mulicam substitute. and not MTP. The material is fuzzy and the pattern not very defined.

If they are the “official” uniform rank slides they should be made out of MTP material and not some cheap knock off.


i have heard that this was discussed by the ivory towers but the infrastructure required isn’t available.
namely a store room (warehouse), personnel, courier service, payment method, resource for website building etc.
it becomes a business in its own right which would need to cover costs…would/could the interest in badges cover that?

the decision was not and why CD was approached for the rank slides


When you look at the places I mention it goes beyond badges.

The only problems would be personnel and website maintenance, everything else should be easy. Why a courier, use the post office. People set up their own businesses from no more than the kitchen table. I know of a mother and daughter who do handmade greetings cards online and at local markets. Go into the post office at the wrong time between Sep and Dec, Jan to March and June and be prepared for a wait, while they are putting their orders through the Post Office. When I’ve spoken to them, they send things 2 or 3 times a week, unless someone specifically requests it sooner, but it attracts a premier price.

The biggest problem would be willingness. I wonder how those I mention cover their costs etc and are they businesses in their own right?

It seems that the biggest gripes are quality and cost, doing it yourself allows for QC and keep the price competitive.


i guess it comes down to price of manufacture verses price of sale.

to remain competitive with CD the price would have to be matched (or close) but the quality expectation would be higher.
how to get a premium product while offering it at the low price/competitive.

I agree with Teflon it isn’t difficult to set up a cottage industry like this, but HQAC doesn’t have the resource to manage it.
if they are currently considering CD for their supply, who would they turn to if they go it alone? and would the quality be any higher? and if so at what cost?

then comes the question of who would be the customers?
would we (CFAVs/Sqns) be happy paying for First Aid, Radio, DofE, other badges when they are available FOC if we wait for the supply system to catch up??
Indeed anything we get through the system is FOC so why would we suddenly be happy to pay for it…?


Cadet Direct aren’t making these rank slides they are buying them from a wholesaler.
Green Frog aren’t manufacturing the PTS Badges they are getting them made and shipping them in.

What HQAC are managing to do with the current system is paying someone else to do act as a purchasing agent and then when the supply chain fails allowing that purchasing agent to sell direct to Squadrons.

Now surely it’s possible for someone to be employed at HQAC to do that direct rather than spending huge amounts of money with a 3rd party to aquire things. You would think that was possible, until you look at the one area they do sort themselves…Identification Badges!


I was chatting to a mate and his CWC has been told that there is an expectation that squadrons buy our “scout” badges as HQAC haven’t got the money to get them, as they wasted (or was that spent money) money on unnecessary rank slides for adults. What a complete and utter shambles. I told my chairman if he hears similar, I won’t be buying badges as the cadets should just get them.
As it is uniformed staff are supposed / have to buy more / different rank slides, so it seems HQAC is creating a market through it’s complete and utter incompetence to sort out the most basic of things.


looks like the Corps is in dire straits regarding badges.

I’ve just read an IBN stating that the costings are far higher than expected and a business case has had to be put forward for more funding.

Should have just changed the pin badges, thats what I say!!


Sadly, moving to embroidered rank slides is the only worthwhile part of this rebranding exercise!


Therein lies the real problem… An HQAC “shop” is an interesting idea but it would never work.
The issue this time was that apparently nobody was capable of comprehending that approaching Cadet Direct to “supply” these damned rank slides instead of going direct to a cheap manufacturer to have them supplied to us at cost would lead to nothing but CFAV faced with only one approved option - paying Mr “Cadet Direct middle man” a huge markup.

If these people can’t even understand the basics there is no way in hell they could coordinate an actual shop to supply multiple products. At least, not without paying through the nose for them and then making us pay even more…


Identification badges which on a briefing note the other day says will now be to a squadrons personal cost and sourcing I’d imagine. Just another thing we have to spend money on that we shouldn’t have to.


If we have to buy squadron ID badges ourselves now, you can blame the morons that can’t follow a very simple instruction to confirm receipt of badges and which delayed payment of the manufacturer to the point that the manufacturer refused to deal with HQAC.


Where is that note? I don’t remember it…


I the last time I had some, I sent the biiet doux THREE times. Luckily I had photocopied it.
HQAC try to make it look like we’ve done / not done something, when they aren’t completely blameless.

So now staff have to buy rank slides, we have to buy badges for cadets as they didn’t realse how much it would cost to supply staff. Well if they are being touted at a fiver a pair and knowing how many staff there are, this primary school maths. As ever superb project management by the masters of mismanaging projects. Every project in the ATC is a small but blinding insight as to why the MOD cannot manage its money, when the people running projects are so incompetent and getting salaries in the many tens of thousands. Put one of these out in the real world and they would looking for employment elsewhere.


Oh yes, I’m aware of the issue with a debt.

It states badges to be funded by squadrons and wings to place consolidated orders. Considering it takes years for them to show up anyway, I think I’ll miss out the middle man.


It’s only just come out in this weeks oc mail drop with some updates on pts badges, rank slides etc.

Also they’re looking at removing the logbook in favour of a cadet ID card which will have a lanyard so that cadets have wearable ID when on stations.

Apparently the take up of rank badges has exceeded expectations- how they can say that when they know how many volunteers they have is beyond me. Maybe they thought more people would walk… also it was difficult to identify how many staff would be promoted to FS and WO ranks- seeing as HQAC set the times limits, surely they should know who is eligible for promotion and factor that in.


@pEp this isn’t a RAFAC IBN, but a wing note - PTS Badge Situation


Classic HQAC screw up. You would laugh if it wasn’t so irritatingly annoying.

As for cost for simplicity based on every 1000 uniformed staff, needing 2 pairs of 3 types of slide.

If they are £4 a pair (based on CD charging £4.5/pr) to make that’s £24K / 1000 uniformed staff.
I’ve done that calculation in a minute or so and didn’t need to have 3 or 4 meetings.
At the volumes we are talking set up costs would be minimal.


“Unexpectedly high take-up of the new syllabus”


They’ve pushed out a new syllabus (via facebook) without informing people how to get on with it, put in a requirement that badges need to be changed over pretty soon and now they’re surprised they’re short of badges?


the term welk stall leaps to mind…