Hi all, first post here.
I was just looking for a bit of advice on going into uniform… I’ve nearly worn out google searching for information and possibly at one point single handedly overloaded Bader - but just can’t find much current advise.
Quick background; ex cadet over 12 years ago… Got to CPL after 2.5 years but left at around 3 before I could progress further due to staff change and the environment changed and got a bit nasty. This is until recently my only experience of the Corps and I have no military experience.
Joined as a CI on the squadron 14 months ago, and as needs must have become a self taught training officer and adj. Turns out, the back management/admin I find really enjoyable and get a kick out of when I get to send cadets on courses/camps/BTECs come through etc.
We have a few additional CI’s on the squadron, and only the boss is uniformed (although one adult SNCO in the process), so I asked about going into uniform. I suggested becoming an officer, he said I would fit the bill perfectly. Great!
Looking at the process, the only part that scares me is falling down due to a lack of knowledge on the ATC or the RAF - my cadet days are a while back now (not like going straight to staff when ageing out) and recalling what is in which ACP and how everything works/who everyone is could really trip me up.
With almost every search throwing up information that seems to be at best several years old and at worst pretty historic, I was wondering a few things:
Firstly - is there somewhere I can find all this information in one place to start some revision? Sharepoint is a good start I know, and I can recall ACPs 1 to 5, but do I need to read every single one?
Secondly - I understand the process and see that after a meeting with the wso there is a PUSC, then an assessed PUC before the interview - I’m confident enough for an interview but just wondered how tricky the PUC is?
I guess I’m excited at the prospect of becoming an officer - I know I’d be good at it - and so really don’t want to blow it by making a wally of myself when it comes to organisational structure and who is who!
Firstly, good luck!
The RAF and ATC can be learnt, best would be to learn the basics, core values, aims of the organisation and get talking!
Find out if anyone local to you has recently gone the route and over a pint (in my opinion) is the best way to have an informal chat about the process and what’s expected.
One of the key resources would be speaking to people (I really can’t understate this), if you ask, they’ll help. Nobody would want to see you fail and from previous experience, whether training cadets or staff, we all want to train!
If you have any specific questions, feel free to ping over a PM, only donned the blue suit a few years ago so I have a little knowledge but the process does change quickly.
What he said.
I also recommend reading up & then teaching First Class lessons on the ATC & RAF. I can’t explain how much that helped me because I did a lot of background reading in order to be able to teach the subjects better & covered most of what I needed to know for my board. Although the info might be out of date (potentially, I no longer teach those subjects so don’t know), you can hardly be criticised for going by the official RAFAC PowerPoint presentations.
Again, I’ve been there & done a board (albeit SNCO rather than Officer) so I’m happy to answer any questions, by PM if you prefer.
Following with interest as I’m looking to do the same thing as @anon9987823 except I’ve come into the organisation with no cadet background! The one thing I’ve found so far has been the encouragement and help offered from those who’ve been there recently, as well as those that see me being able to fulfil the role and pass all the workshops etc. Any info/help is always appreciated.
Good call on teaching the RAF/ATC as first class subjects.
I’ll also draw out the structure of the ATC/RAF a few times with regions - wings in my region too. So it sticks.
I’ll remind myself of ACP’s 1 to 5, and try to remember the others…
I’ll read up on what the RAF is up to at the moment at home and abroad too.
Surely that should see me through?
I’m not making it common knowledge on the sqn that I’m going for it, so for drill refresher we have a new JNCO’s recently promoted, so along with one SNCO I’m going to get them to practise their teaching technique with me as the victim… So they can make their mistakes and be guided by the senior cadet and I can have all my cadet drill come flooding back… win win.
Had a good chat with my OC, and an ex cadet friend is a boss of a local squadron so had a few pints together last night, also asked another officer what they thought and they just insist “You’ll be fine”… No real practical advise.
My case was different in the fact I had been a SNCO for 24yrs, but I still bought and really found them very, very good and useful the following books;
Good to know you say you are enjoying the experience at the moment, however are you ready for the harsh reality of being a squadron commander within 18-24 months?
It is one thing doing the admin on a squadron and another when you are the one in the chair and maybe on a squadron where staff aren’t perhaps so willing to do things and you getting lumped with it all. This won’t be in any of preparatory books, paperwork or courses. I doubt that Wing, OASC or ATF would like a question along those lines.
I can imagine at the moment Wing Staff are all your mates, offering support etc, but once you have passed that relationship will change, as they will have empty seats to fill and your bum will be seen as one to do that.
Go for it and good luck, but please remain and be aware of what’s around the corner when you complete the process. It would disappointing that someone so enthused effectively has the rug pulled out from under them. It is encouraging that someone a bit older has joined (re-joined) the organisation.
I am aware that this is a possibility - our Sqn CO plans on being around for a few years yet, but won’t continue forever… My plan is to work as closely with him as possible to continue to run a thriving and growing sqn (9 cadets about 4 years ago, up to 52 on the books now, regularly parade 35-40).
Once he decides to pack it in I’ll hopefully be ready to continue things on… All being well! I’m in no rush for that to happen and neither is he, but it secures the longer term future, there are always rumours of mergers or closures due to lack of staff around here.
It won’t necessarily be where you are currently. Unless the CO is absolutely resolute and digs their heels in.