Establishment strengths for Cadet NCOs vs Sqn Size Category: ?Staff Cadets?

There are establishment maximums / recommendations for Cadet NCO numbers appointed at squadrons, which are a function of the overall size of the squadron (ie it’s Size Category Letter).

SInce all these scales were set a long time ago, and definitely before the advent of 18+ Staff Cadets (nee ‘Instructor Cadets’), I’d be interested to hear how other squadrons count those individuals in respect of the recommended Cadet NCO local scaling.

My interpretation (especially since we’re not awash locally with masses of uniformed staff) is that Staff Cadets are >not< counted as using up Cadet JNCO/SNCO slots. Otherwise I feel that this completely distorts the advancement/promotion path for other upcoming new Cadets, because they’d potentially be left without as many personal progression routes: which is not fair.

Another angle on this is that I see many (not all) Staff Cadets as a useful but frequently-unpredictable resource- in my mind they’re part of what I think of as being the ‘Potentially Effective Pool’. By the nature of their age and other external commitments, they can frequently be the source of unrealised expectations, but, by virtue of their experience and (sometimes intermittent, but welcome) attendance any squadron commander would be mad to encourage them out the door.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? Or awareness of there being any kind of formal future policy plan being considered nationally to recognise this, that they shouldn’t really be lumped-in with the mainstream younger Cadets in the constrained promotions contest, for the reasons outlined above.


On the basis that there aren’t currently any establishment scales for cadet NCOs or staff, I can’t help but feel it doesn’t really matter at the moment.

However, I wouldn’t actually agree with you Wilf. I’d say that you shouldn’t have a structure that ignores some people just because of their age.

I thought one of next big things was a survey looking at losing/keeping over 18s.

The single biggest problem we’ve had regarding the over 18s is that since the inception of the “adult” cadet in 2003, HQAC have never IMO actually had a proper policy. Mostly because they don’t know what to do with them, as such at squadron level they are mostly treated just like all other cadets, in terms of promotions etc. HQAC have had some banal fanciful notions of “high flyers” and developing so called policies in terms of rank and percieved worth based on ticking boxes around these, which are a complete nonsense, as we don’t apply this process to anyone coming into the Corps as staff. Yet youngsters already in the Corps have to have a “worth” to stay in, like we’re doing THEM a favour.

As for establishments, they are not worth the paper they are written on and I imagine everyone who is in the real Air Cadets know it. If you’ve got a youngster who is good enough, promote them, as it is unfair to not do so just because you may be going through a dip in numbers and or no one is leaving and your ‘establishment’ doesn’t allow it.
I’ve never taken any notice of establishments, they might work in the Civil Service/Armed Forces, but not IMO on an ATC Squadron.

This is where I find the ACO confusing. I was told quite some time ago that ACO20B PI101 Annexe A ‘Adult Establishment Scale- ATC Units’ and Annexe B ‘Cadet Establishment Scale- ATC Units’ were meant to be fully abided by. Are we saying that these Personnel Instructions are actually no longer valid?

So is it not the case that a basic squadron of 30-45 Cadets is limited to having 10 Cadet NCOs? (1 x CWO, 1 x FS, 4 x Sgts, 4 x Cpls). And 5 members of unifomed staff, plus 4 CIs? Has that been suspended? Interesting…if so, my original post (which I think happened to be my 2,000th?) is irrelevant.

Dear pEp, you’re misunderstanding me. My concern is exactly the reverse, I don’t want anyone ignored. My point is that if there is a threshold maximum number of Cadet NCOs that shouldn’t really be exceeded, and existing >Staff Cadet< NCOs are counted within that maximum, it is unfair to younger Cadets that are therefore being prevented from being promoted up into the same (allegedly-limited quota) of slots which are being ‘held’ by incumbent Staff Cadets.

I think the approach I’m taking (ie of counting Staff Cadets against unfilled Adult NCO Staff slots, and not against contended Cadet NCO slots) makes more sense, and I’d be prepared to defend it. But maybe I’m shooting at shadows here, believing that we must abide by rules that are perhaps withdrawn.

Any other perspectives on this?

ps GHE2, I follow the theoretical points you’re making about ‘career Cadets’, but surely you’d agree that they’ve got a valuable combination of experience/stamina/willingness (and sometimes even availability :wink: that’s all worth retaining? And, your observation about establishments not having to be followed: again, I understand your perspective, but I was trying to establish whether anyone else was following my current-day interpretation of what I’d understood to be the existing rule-set. If pEp’s right, I’m trying to apply a logical adaptation to something that’s not actually in place anymore!!

Obviously I am not ATC, but I have always gone with the policy of promoting someone when they deserved it, regardless of the size of my detachment. It is very wrong to have a senior cadet languishing as a corporal simply because they are in a small unit.

We can’t do this, as Staff Cadets cannot be left in charge of a group of cadets unless a member of staff is present. Unlike a member of staff regardless of type who can be left in sole charge of a group of cadets. A squadron could operate quite nicely with a group of CIs and no uniformed staff, but not if there were a group of over 18 cadets and no other staff. In basic supervisory terms what is the difference between a 20 year old CI and 19 years 365 day old cadet?

This has been one of if not the single biggest problems with the over 18 cadet and the Corps. They have to submit themselves to the same checks as staff do, barring the BSVR references and yet HQAC has not and cannot see past the cadet bit. This is why I am in favour of binning over 18 cadets (despite having been one myself) as in the modern idyll they just don’t work. Get rid of them and have a completely open and transparent structure, ie over 18 = adult staff. Everyone then knows exactly where they stand.

GHE2, in no way am I suggesting that the differing roles and responsibilities of Adult Staff and Staff Cadets are being blurred here.

All I mean is the using-up of the numeric maximum total number of slots allocated (notionally) for SNCO staff, for Staff Cadets, that’s it. Not the jobs / functions / expectations, just the ranks, as per the overall LUE.

And perhaps our sqn is the only one in the universe that has ever tried to keep half an eye on ACP20B PI101…!



I kept an eye on it - when it was in date and current. Now ACP20 is personnel regs with “establishment scales to follow”, I haven’t bothered. I just use common sense that dictates that I can’t promote everyone, and that I roughly need/want a pyramid of NCOs (1 CWO, 1/2 FS, 3/4 Sgts, 6/7 Cpls).

I don’t fully understand the benefit of as suggested using a cadet NCO in lieu of an adult NCO for what is effectively a cosmetic excerise wrt to LUEs. It could never be an official ‘replacement’ as such. It begs the question if you got an adult NCO in the meantime quite what you do with the cadet, if there are no cadet spaces.

However as a Sqn Cdr I could see no benefit purely in line with the restrictions that I have mentioned. I cannot ever remember as a Staff Cadet CWO 30+ years ago, any of my mates taking (in terms of establishment) a staff position on their squadron or similarly since. There is a world of difference IMO between the pre and post LASER Review over 18s, with the pre-LASER Review, being head and shoulders above the post-LASER Review, purey because no one quite knows how they fit into the organisation and as such they get pulled from pillar to post.

I always favoured the approach of promoting those worthy if a sensible position available for them and if that happens to take you over the scale then you are doing it for ‘development purposes’. That always was accepted without a problem.

Aha, thanks pEp, so Personnel Instruction 101 doesn’t represent the scales? Despite being called that? That’s odd, especially on a live DMS. If it’s not current, why isn’t it being auto-archived or shelf-lifed offline?. Shall try using the reporting system to advise. Also strange to substitute content with a gap…anyway…

[quote=“pEp” post=19351]I haven’t bothered. I just use common sense that dictates that I can’t promote everyone, and that I roughly need/want a pyramid of NCOs (1 CWO, 1/2 FS, 3/4 Sgts, 6/7 Cpls).[/quote] Looks familiar / sensible.

And bigmalck, yes, that seems to be a valid per-case argument.

GHE2, I cannot comment about what the world looked like pre-LaSER, as I wasn’t (fullly) in this billet back then. I think I do understand why you’re saying what you are re the average standard of 18+ Cadets in that era, but isn’t this just a statistical spread effect? In other words, the set of 18+ individuals that are retained is a larger group than it was, but those persons that would’ve been retained under the more-exclusive classical arrangement are still in there, too. Just part of a bigger pack?

Because surely you’d agree two points: firstly, that there can’t be factors as a consequence of LaSER preventing contemporary ‘good’ Cadets still staying on (if you can genuinely identify what they are, I’d be amazed), and secondly, there are, undoubtedly, some extremely-good 18+ Staff Cadets out there…and will continue to be.