Cadets becoming 18


Not sure if this is the right forum.
My son is a cadet soon to become 18.
He has been told tonight he cannot stay after 18 because he is not an NCO. Is this correct???

The reason he is not an NCO is because the squadron opens 2 nights a week and for the last 18 months (he joined age 12 and had always attended his previous Sqn and this one regularly) he has only attended once a week as he has been qualifying to become a coach for children which he has achieved and now coaches an under 11 team.

When we asked why he isn’t an corporal we were told it’s to do with attendance. Even though he has just done is D of E and his standard bearer training and helps with the younger cadets.

Is he being penalised for his football or does the OC have a grudge??

I would also like to add I am the Sqn treasurer, which will also cease very quickly.

Thoughts ?? advice???


The OC has to recommend a cadet to continue service over the age of 18 also the cadet has to of completed safe guarding training prior to 18. Without stirring it…there is nothing written down that you have to be an NCO to continue over 18.

If I was in your shoes I’d have a chat with the CO for clarity. Gives you the opportunity to set the record straight…maybe your son hasnt articulated it very well?

If you arent satisfied with the response you gst continue up the chain of command. Ask for the contact details of the sector commander/wexo

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Alex has already answered for the policy side - there’s no official rule, but plenty of places (either Sqn or Wing) invent their own - but my bit of advice would be to be careful about the first part I’ve quoted. Throwing your toys out of the pram and leaving the sqn potentially in a dodgy position because you don’t like a decision is not a very mature move and reflects poorly on you.

I hope you’re just venting from a position of being a bit miffed and don’t really mean what you say here, or at least don’t mean it the way it comes across.

Your son might well have been doing the football since he was 12, but if he’s only been with the new unit for 18 months, and only attends half the time, it’s very possible that the CO simply doesn’t know him well enough to believe he warrants the application he (the CO) would have to put in.

Your son would require a DBS and there is a cost to this (for the Cadets) so Wing has to be sure they’re a suitable candidate.

It’s not just as simple as saying “yes, keep attending”. When he’s over 18 he’s going to be considered in some respects as a member of staff. There are different responsibilities. There is more to it than simply saying, carry on.


Welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

The previous posts explain it very well. Over 18 is not a foregone conclusion (just like promotion to NCO) and part of the OCs decision will be about whether the cadet can be relied upon to take responsibility as an adult supervising children, possibly on their own.

As a qualified football coach that’s good evidence of responsibility but the decision is the OCs. You’ll need to talk to them to understand the reasoning.

On units that I’ve been on, most conversations with the OC that involve ‘do this or I leave’ result in ‘Sorry you feel that way. There’s the door’ but I might have misunderstood your meaning.

With the cadet portal he can go to the download section and see the agreement a staff cadet has to make if they are consider suitable for retention.

They have to be able to provide something back to the corps - be that a qualification etc.

There’s also got to be a recommendation from both the OC and the Sector Commander. If he wants to stay past 18 then he should be allowed to submit a application - the OC can write Not Recommended on it but will need to justify his reasons both to the Cadet and to the Sector Commander.

Unfortunately/Fortunately depending which way you look at it, it’s no longer a right to stay past 18. It’s a new role, and although there are over 18 cadet (not NCOs) out there, it’s quite a difficult position to be in and Some OCs are wary of it


You have mis read my issue.

My son has attended cadets from age 12. He had to transfer to the new Sqn when they closed the previous one and has been at the new one 3 years. So all together a cadet for 5 years. The football is for the last 18 months.

I am miffed so say the least. We all help out and want to know why he has not been given the opportunity to apply for staff cadet.

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What classification is he?
What badges has he got?
Has he been on a week camp?
Apart from football qual, does he have any RAFAC quals he would bring post 18?
Any discipline issues in previous 12 months?
Has HE asked the OC to stay after 18?

If the answers to all of these are satisfactory then there should not be any reason in particular why he cant.
Might just be that as others have said he doesnt stand out and is only there 50%.

Post 18 cadet service is not automatic and there are many boxes to tick first.

Reference your role as treasurer. Were you planning on leaving when he did at 20? Or was he going to stay on after?

Ok, there are two issues to think about;
1- NCO isn’t a given. It’s a position that’s earned and places the cadet in a junior management position on the sqn. With that comes responsibilities and expectations. If someone isn’t able to attend regularly, it could be argued that they would be unsuitable for those responsibilities and unable to meet those expectations.
2- A sqn has establishment guidelines that show how many NCOs they should have, if they are at their full complement, some COs are unwilling to promote further, because there’s nothing for them to do.

Beyond those considerations, is the extra step and levels for staff cadet, over 18 service. Again, it’s not a given. The same considerations come into play. Can they do the things expected of them, can they commit the time.

Fundamentally, all you’ll get here is speculation because we don’t know the full ins and outs, don’t know the CO’s mindset or if there are any local rules being imposed. We also don’t know if there’s other considerations about your son, maybe his behaviour isn’t perfect, for example.

Following Alex’s advice in the first reply is your correct avenue.


It’s the OC who decides who to recommend for retention over 18 and who to not.

They can set any policy they want over the minimum set out by Corps.

I personally will not consider those who aren’t at least a Corporal for retention since as a Staff Cadet they will have authority over others and if they haven’t been able to demonstrate in the 6 years previous the required leadership for even this JNCO rank how can I expect them to lead others?

As for why your Son isn’t an NCO, the football has been the last 18 months, would I promote someone with only 50% attendance, nope. I expect at least 75% attendance from my NCO’s. (But if he hasn’t made it within the preceding 4 years that would make me think he was a non-starter anyway).

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Our Sqn, once you are just over 17 the OC will talk to you and ask if you want to stay over 18. If they do then we get the DBS and other obstacles written out ready to send off. Only if the cadet is a nuisance and no help to the team then he won’t have the staying on chat. We’ve had 2 cadets who either didn’t want to stay on or were not given the option. To not keep over 18’s on who are a help just because they can only do 1 night a week due to work hasn’t stopped ours. We have 2 at uni who attend as often as they can when needed. If they aren’t needed then they get a night off.

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Thank you for all your views and options. My Son was given the stay on talk in October and told he would be able to extend with no issues. Don’t think it’s fair how this can be changed without warning. To note he has NO behavioural issues.

I will pursue this with your advice.

I do think some times the OC let’s the authority go to his head, especially if he is bottom of the food chain in his paid role

Thx again

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Let’s not get personal, be an adult and go and have a conversation with the individual to see what the issues are.

The OC is a volunteer remember and may not even want to be OC.


This exactly…so many are forced/guilt triped into it


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