Cadet to Uniformed Staff

when would be the right time to start applying for CFAV (preferably SNCO) from a staff cadet.

And, are there any requirements from going to Uniformed staff as a Staff Cadet?


Best option.

Around 19 and a 1/4 to 6 Months

Pers 301 in ACP20 has all the nitty gritty info.

But loosely

OC must support application
BPSS Completes
DBS completes
All Mandatory Training as per ACTO99 completed (SNCO not Staff Cadet)
An application form(s) completed
Wing Board

This process does have some wing variations at times… So worth a chat with your OC now


Angry upvote…

But don’t worry, once you’ve gone through SNCO palaver you can always carry on to the exalted ranks of the Commissioned Brethren!


My point exactly :wink: foot in the door approach

Yeah SNCO cadre will take anyone :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Quite right too… You can teach most people to be a good SNCO… If they haven’t managed to get the hang of it in 12 months we just chin them off to be an Officer instead. :wink:

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Burrrrrrrn. But true

@AlexCorbin is pretty spot on with the process, couple of edits from my experiences though.

As a Staff Cadet you should have a Valid BPSS & DBS so you don’t need to re-complete these elements, you can’t complete any of your SNCO Mandatory Training until your appointment is confirmed and you are listed on SMS as an SNCO (earliest date will be your 20th Birthday).

I’d suggest this a conversation you should be having at 19.6 with your OC so that all paperwork is done and sorted prior to your 20th for a smooth transition, as an OC this a conversation I would initiate.

Paperwork wise you’ll need a Pers 1-10 / Pers 1-19 / P46 and get WHQ to start the SC process for you all ahead of the Wing Board.

All joking aside regarding the SNCO / Officer debate, you shouldn’t overlook spending time working out which route is right for you. Maybe it’s clear cut if you want to be a DI for example but take the time to speak to staff to weigh up pros and cons of each route.

Especially now that the CFM regulations have changed so that spending time as a CI doesn’t negate your staff cadet service. Unless you were absolutely 100% sure that you wanted to be in uniform and which cadre then you should spend some time as a CI to help adjust to your change in status

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And to also be able to have a little less time in direct contact with the ATC, develop some life experience, be a little more rounded as a person.

Being in cadets is great, but it’s not the be all and end all.


I don’t necessarily agree with this, for some people yes, but everyone is different and going down the CI route doesn’t suit everyone.

I’ve had Cadets that have spent 2 years doing a full staff role and who are well aware of what they want, being a CI wouldn’t have told them anything except that they didn’t want to be a CI.

I’m am also a supporter of direct to uniform.
The change from Cadet to CFAV is one of maturity and responsibility. We have already started to address that with giving staff cadets a greater responsibility.
I don’t believe that there is any adjustment which is better made by ‘marking time’ as a CI before going back into uniform than can be made by going straight into A/Sgt.

Indeed, for a staff cadet who has spent the past 2 years as probationary staff in uniform, becoming a CI and stepping away from the role they’ve been performing is going to be even more of an adjustment than continuing into uniform

I’m not advocating that a break does the corps better, I’m suggesting that it can do the individual better.

Of course, that doesn’t flow for everybody and it should not be taken as the only answer, but I feel that it’s better for the person to spend time doing other things and then come back to cadets.

My time away from cadets while at university, while serving in the regs, while then working around the world after leaving the RAF, and eventual settling into a new city and new day job before coming back to the corps has, imo, made me a much better staff member than I would have been had I simply not left when I was 19.

I’m not talking about the Corps either, but the individual.

Taking time away entirely is one thing and, as you say, may be a good option for some and not for others. But what I was talking about there was Farmerdan’s suggestion that they go Cadet --> CI --> SNCO; as though being a CI instead of going from cadet to SNCO brings some sort of benefit. I don’t believe it does.


I’d agree that it doesn’t by default, but it certainly can do.

I’ve seen a number of cadets age out as a staff cadet one week and return as CIs the next week and seen how hard it is for them to leave the cadet mindset behind.

But would that be any different if they go straight into uniform?
Being a CI or being an SNCO requires the same move away from the ‘cadet mindset’. In both roles they can find themselves as the responsible adult in charge of an activity. Is it somehow easier to mature by being a CI instead of an A/Sgt?

At least going straight to A/Sgt doesn’t require them to let go of the ‘uniform mindset’ only to have to rediscover it again in a year or two.

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They can also be IC as a staff cadet, so the mindset shift (in theory) shouldn’t be that large

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Which is where it comes down to units, I’ve always been proactive in using my Staff Cadets as Staff so the jump isn’t a big one upon turning 20, others are the total opposite.


Before embarking on this given the potential years in uniform, doing a few years as a CI or out completely, would do no harm. The latter would allow you to work out jobs and if you get into a relationship able to give it the proper time, rather than having to work around job and cadets. The former just sit back and find out what it’s like to be staff, as opposed to being a staff cadet, which regardless of how you look at it, is not the same.
By taking a break in either way, you would know it was what you wanted to do, without the ‘nudging’ by staff. I have never insisted that cadets go direct into uniformed adult staff, I would sooner them wait and decide for themselves. It’s all well and good me as the OC saying this or that, but it’s not my life or decision to make.

I wonder how much honesty there is when it comes to coercing youngsters directly into a uniform role, in terms of how the Air Cadets need them in uniform more than they need the Air Cadets. Especially given how hard it is to get people from outside interested enough to join.