Does the RAF care whether you've been in the cadets?

When you are applying to the RAF and doing your interview, do they take notice of the fact that you went to the cadets and achieved a certain rank as a factor that could change their opinion completely; or is it just a little thing they would touch on lightly like your other commitments, thus meaning that it’s not important?

In between the two.
It’s not nothing, but on its own is not that special.

The onus is on you to explain how your time in cadets has helped you develop and show your potential for leadership and aptitude for a career in the forces.


wot ee sez.

being a cadet, like many other non-academic activities, is an indication that the applicant can play well with others, and has some degree of character and interest about them - a good example would be that the officer selection process would prefer to recruit applicant A who got a 2.1 while running the climbing club than applicant B who got a first but who did nothing outside of their course.

in a similar vein they would prefer applicant C who moved 200 miles to go to Uni and who lived with other students than applicant D who lived at home and commuted to the local uni while mummy did his/her washing.

the practicalities of having been a cadet do carry some weight - you aren’t going to freak out the first time someone puts a rifle in your hands, you aren’t going to cry when someone tells you that you look like you got dressed in Oxfam, in the dark, and you aren’t going to go on strike the first time you get wet - but its by no means a golden ticket to acceptance.

i interview potential Officers for my old Regiment, i can tell you that i was far more impressed by the candidate who, at aged 19, had raised significant sums for Refugees in southern Europe and who had then started supply runs to drive stuff down to Italy and Greece and to work in the various camps during the summer than i was by the CWO who had pretty much had his cadet experience spoon-fed to him.

What are you applying for? If it is for pilot, please note that the total “pass” mark for candidates at Cranwell has just been increased…

A couple of years ago, at our Sqn Awards Evening, the presenting officer was very, very high up in the RAF. He quoted some statistics (can’t remember them exactly), but for all 3 Services, the percentage of ex-Air Cadets who were serving officers was remarkable high (50-60%+). The figure was highest for the Army!

From a family perspective, yes, it would seem that the CIO “like” applicants who have cadet service. As an ex-instructor at RAFC Cranwell, I can echo the comments above. Those students who were ex-cadets had a head start with the basics & generally integrated well. Unlike one 20+ yr old “mummy’s boy,” they didn’t get home sick & want to leave!! :-o


Yes they do care, I have at least 4 times filled out the application supplement sent to me which forms part of the application process - its a 4 page A4 and if a cadet has made CWO and Gold DoE it can count as unto 13 points towards the application thats unless something has change in the last 18 months

What has been described above is valid for practically all jobs.

With youngsters walking away from education with fistfuls of qualifications, what you do outside of school has a lot of bearing on things.

In a previous job we had youngsters of all academic achievements come in and we had to try and help them with employment. We helped them with CVs, applications and ran mock interviews with a range of people from employment agencies and business. The easiest to help, regardless of academic achievement, were those who did things outside school. It then has to be something employers can relate to and in their minds translate into the world of work.

I would say it is harsh to criticise teenagers who go to a local uni and commute rather than go to one out of area. We’ve had cadets do both routes and one girl said why go to one 80 miles from home, when I can go to one I can get back home from easily every day from if I want and do the exactly the same course and not have to worry about building extra cost for myself. This seemed like common sense to me, life has enough pressures so giving yourself more is just daft. Especially when you’re only 18 and it’s not a job, just an extended stay in education.


I’ve just had a similar discussion with a friend of mine who is a recruiter. His answer yes and no

Yes, as it shown you’ve done something with your life
No, they want more. It is felt that the Corps provides quite a lot for cadets but most of it is already organised so cadets just pitch up and crack on however, if they’ve done something off their own back ie played a musical instrument to an examined standard or learned to speak a foreign language even organised a group event somewhere then that is a big plus.

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Do you have any specifics, Sir?

Used to be 112/180, then moved to 130/80 & is now 140/180.

So, practice your hand / eye coordination (gaming!) & brush up on your time / distance / speed calculations!

Agreed with above posts. It’s a yes and no answer and dependant on the role/branch you are applying for. It won’t make or break your application but it can’t hurt it. It shows you aren’t just a chav hanging round on street corners, and willing to be proactive.

It is a bit disappointing though that in general ex cadets and OTC are let down by their attitude or that they somehow think that Cadet time counts as the Forces. And some of them let themselves down. The OTC especially are notoriously disliked by the Forces.

It can be beneficial with some aspects of Recruit training but it’s best to keep quiet about it. Being a Cadet doesn’t make you any better than the men and women around you. I saw lads with no prior experience leave ex cadets in the dust.

I’ve done quite a bit of reading on the ADCC and war time ATC, where the training was directly linked to service requirements for obvious reasons and I think this where being in the ATC is still regarded by some as being special and making Air Cadets the RAF’s dream ticket, when the general training today isn’t really geared to anything in particular. Being able to iron a uniform, bull some shoes and do some drill, is only really of any use in basic training. The fact that a proportion still join and make a good fist of it, is more down to their school qualifications and personal traits rather than the Air Cadets, as I’ve seen many Air Cadets come of the forces quite early as (like with all jobs) it wasn’t for them.

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