Classification training - why do we still bother?



Include the basic stuff in the low end PTS can be used to the basic grounding, cadets get badges as they go.

Personally I would ditch a lot of senior / master stuff as they are largely irrelevant. We used to have a mechanic on the CWC and he would take cadets through piston engines with one on a bench and got them quite mucky at times, which they loved. He had a proper Mini (not the new not really a Mini) engine in his garage which he used.


As an aside on the history of flight angle, I saw this earlier;


That puts the history of flight into perspective


Go straight for Blue Radio but they still need to fill in the pesky log book!


Just make sure you cover the aspects of the book during blue radio and fill out as you go


That is the ideal…
As an Assessor I’ve found Sqns sending Cadets forward who’ve either not done the First Class Radio or (more often) not filled in the book.
Also the book is no substitute for time on the air but that’s another topic entirely!


Blue Radio is the logbook + some time with the radio and an extra video… The powerpoint even matches with the book


Really only extra is the on air assessment


I feel that the ridiculously technical nature of some of the subjects, particularly at Senior and Master, precludes the average CFAV from being able to teach them. We’re fortunate on our squadron that we have a couple of aeronautical engineers on the staff who understand it but god knows what we’d do otherwise.


This is exactly my point at wing.

At the last training officers conference that I attended, I suggested that maybe some subjects can be taught at wing level over a weekend for squadrons that do not have staff with adequate subject knowledge.

I’ve heard some suggest that staff can learn a subject before teaching it but I can’t imagine that being answered kindly when they already give up precious time to be there…


Never mind the instructors, what about the students? Great if they are STEM-minded and interested, but I’d like to see other routes to the upper-echelons of the classification system for those with other interests and abilities (hence my PTS-based suggestion).


That’s my thinking as well. It could give the Cadets more choice too. Otherwise they might have to do the topics the Sqn knows how to teach.


I have been requesting some Corps, Rg or Wg based support for everything above Leading for some years - certainly since before the last syllabus rewrite!!! Ideally a train the trainer subject specific course OR, given that Wg cohorts at Senior/Master are so small, a modular day approach to their training where specialist deliver the training to cadets.

We briefly had a flurry of these courses when a more formal MOI course was introduced at Wg level. Suddenly we had staff building balloon cars etc to support some low level STEM activities and to support first class and leading. It was great… But then kinda fizzled out.

Lots of the syllabus is very niche and you need a knowledgeable and passionate staff member to be able to deliver it effectively. Most squadrons lack this and use the fall back of self study or open book exams to get them through. It frankly makes a mockery of the system.

We offer the cadets a choice of subjects based around what our staff can deliver locally. We essentially force them into subjects they may have no interest in learning due to our own limitations. I’d rather a model whereby they at least get the opportunity to study something of interest from which they will probably have a greater chance of actually passing due to their own investment and knowledge in the subject - rather than the open book sat next to them!

Most of the other PTS subject areas are delivered over weekend courses - with Gold ones often being specialist camps. Why should classification be any different?

Just because we’ve always done it this way, it doesn’t mean it’s right!!!


Wholeheartedly agree.

I’m not particularly interested in STEM myself so would be keen to see alternative modules introduced to cater to other interests. I also certainly don’t have the time to teach myself Satellite and Data Comms to a level where I could teach the cadets and answer their questions.

Obviously a change like that would have an impact on the BTEC but how many cadets actually get to that level anyway?


Would be nice to have the BTEC still work on my PTS-based system, but I think that it’s important that the tail doesn’t wag the dog here.


My issue with the whole ethos of what we do is that we are unable to offer much on the squadron nights to keep cadets interested beyond 18 months

If we run a range and a flight sim that takes 4 staff to provide for 12 cadets in an evening. What about the other 20 cadets (lucky me with more than 30 a night :sunglasses:)

Maybe 10 doing 1st class/blue badges with 1 or 2 staff - that leaves 10 or so who once they have done their classification training (we try to do between Oct and finished by end of Jan so as not to conflict with school/holidays) that need staff to attend to

We are lucky if we have more than 3 or 4 teaching staff a night

Anything beyond blue badges is now Sector/Wg/above. Are we in danger of creating a 2 tier system where cadets only progress further if
a. They are really interested in pursuing that particular area, whereas they would do if it was locally with their mates
b. They have parents able to take them to and from centralised activities (for us a 1hr drive each way)
c. Once they hit 16 are able to attend all these extra weekends considering part time jobs etc.

Most cadets come down because they want to do fun things together as a group - albeit within a quasi Air Force background. I don’t think they come for an education. Obviously, with all things, if it is fun then they will learn. But HQAC seems to think it is about education 1st

We need to be able to deliver more at local level not centrally if we want to keep more cadets beyond 18 months to 2 years


The points about anything above “blue badge” are bang on the money.
Everything should be deliverable at squadron level, this makes it more interesting for staff, without having to forgo weekends and or do as and when courses. All these subject areas do is create cliques.
I know I’m an old sod but we never had all these extra badges and courses and I don’t think my “cadet experience” suffered. I fail to see the value they bring.
As you say kids join with and or to make friends and do some interesting / fun things and do them at the squadron. If it’d been like this when I was a cadet my dad did shift work and staff didn’t really do much at the weekend, I wouldn’t have done them.

I think we have too many people at HQAC on various ‘committees’ who are so far away from cadets or never had it in their lives making things up that are meaningless.


Ahhh yes.
But 10 years ago we could just take cadets to the local woods on an evening completely unscheduled. Teach fieldcraft or a mini night ex.

Now we have to have TOPL including land owners permission etc etc and staff qualified up the ying yang. Just for a 1 hour exercise.

Not to deviate as I know we shouldn’t but the reason the scouts are doing so well is a lack of all this completely unnecessary red tape. Oh… and it’s more about fun for them rather than the total focus on education, education, education.

It’s been said before time and time again.
We are not in the RAF anymore so why the determination to hold us to all the beauracracy.

Apart from to keep the Admin Queen in her job.


Happy to do a train-the-trainer course for MAS if people would be interested!


I’ve lost staff over the last few years due to the need to be “trained” in things that are meaningless outside the ATC to step out the door and the increased admin to do something for as said an hour.

We need to be able to bring the focus back to squadrons and make it so they are where it all happens, not at Area or Wing. Cadets don’t join an area or Wing they join a squadron. IF and only IF they WANT to do something really really special should they need to go elsewhere. As a cadet we didn’t have NCO, drill, leadership, management et al courses for cadets and none of us suffered, so why now? Except for staff with low esteem jobs on a look at me ego trip.