Ex cadet from early 2000s looking to volunteer

Hi all

This post is for a personal/informed decision I’m making :slight_smile:.

I am an ex cadet from 2000 till 2003, really enjoyed my time as a kid and now in my 30s want to help give back. I am settled down, career sorted and kids have started to not need me 24/7 ("dad dad dad isn’t heard every 5 seconds now ha).

Now this is the crux of my issue, when i was a cadet it was very regimented. As a cdt i would have to stand to attention when addressing anyone who was a rank higher and end every sentence with “cpl” “sgt” etc. Now this wasn’t an issue and never caused me any grief but i always look back at this and think it is OTT. I am ex mil and to be fair apart from phase 1 and officers (some i even called then by their first name) you didn’t act like this…imagine being in the workshop :upside_down_face: formally addressing everyone…you’d getting nothing done. I also feel this creates issues with teenages thinking they are gods gift. Is this still the case?

My next issue/concern, at my old sqn the cadet nco’s would drink alchol once the cadets had left, people did get drunk. Now i do remeber kids getting so drunk they vommed and one vivid mess night was like a scene from the last days of the roman empire ha. Does this still happen? Are under 16s allowed to drink even if it is not known by the ATC?

Many thanks for any replies but please don’t just say “go see your local sqn”… I’d be surprised if i was given an honest answer to the later ha

Welcome, and welcome back!

Some places, probably. But they’re the minority.

Again, very much not de rigour. If it was known about, it would be stopped yesterday. Verboten.
If it’s not known, how would we know if they did it?.. But certainly, no cadets would be on the unit without staff. And no staff would allow that.

I was a cadet in the same era you were. Your experience sounds very different to mine!


I was a cadet in that era as well. No drinking on squadron. That didn’t stop cadet NCOs going to someone’s house afterwards to get drunk but we’re never going to get rid of that. Officially though no-one can drink on cadet duty and we certainly wouldn’t open up the unit as a bar once the youngsters have gone

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Some squadrons are very hard on addressing people correctly, other squadrons not so much. However I’ve never experienced cadets having to stand to shun to speak to an NCO unless they’re on parade. Cadets usually refer to people by their rank and surname (unless it is obvious who they are trying to address in which case they will just use the rank). Most squadrons however do have cadets stand to shun and salute if necessary when entering their staff or OCs office.

The drinking policy as far as I’m aware is no alcohol (on any RAFAC events, at squadron, etc) - cadets and staff shouldn’t be intoxicated turning up to a parade night or a cadet event either.

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Ah nice to see people from my era are still in :slight_smile:

Thanks for comments and the only reason i have the drinking issue is down to my job. I work in safeguarding and somone i worked with helped coach kids under 16 and lost his job when half the team got drunk and started fighting eachother ha…knowing my luck it’s just not worth the risk if it did happen.

I’ve read a few post about how the ATC has changed but I take it the vast majority is till roughly the same as it was for me back in the day.

Yeah I loved my time there and only left at 16 due to exams etc but it did have a big in sqn drinking culture. At the time i thought it was great, but now i look back at this with a diffrent mind set.


I recall alcohol was banned from the building so in some ways your experience was more lax as not only was alcohol on site but drunk and by Cadets, but in other ways super strict given the formallities offered.

In my opinion what i experienced as a Cadet remains - Cdt NCOs and Staff are referred to by rank. If addressing staff at the office door they stand to attention while knocking (& saluting as necessary) before being invited in - the compliments remain but the stiffness of the posture disappears.

in short - it would depend on the unit you attend. I have been on 8 in my time and all have different style often a reflection on the Sqn WO attitude - if they are a drill pig or an AT/shooting/FA guru (you can guess which were the stricter units)

rather than suggest going to your local Squadron go to two - your local one might not match your expectations. I recognise this is easier said than done. in some cases the option between 2 Squadrons is 5 minutes across town or 15 minutes the opposite direction while others are 15 minutes to the closest and 40 minutes to next!
but if it is practical i suggest visit two and it will give you a far better feel for what it is like than comments on here

Yeah, looking back it was very strict with drill & discipline on parade nights, but after the sqn canteen became a bar it was very relaxed. It also had a very god like complex with senior cadet nco’s but i feel this was down to the adult WO at the time. He lived and breathed ATC, but didn’t like the fact cadets had other life commitments such as exams and school life. Just before i left, he gave me a for not attending the BoB parade, i explained I had gcse work and his word “thats not the corps concern”. He was a strange man thinking about it, i always remeber he always wore his grandad/dads ww2 medals on his No1s at parades (nothing wrong with that as it was on the correct side) but didnt like adult staff wearing campaign medals from previous military service.

Sorry for my rant :sweat_smile:

I live within 2 sqns so that is a good idea thank you.


There still are people that live and breathe the organisation but every staff member I’ve ever met has understood people have other things going on in their lives.

Definitely recommend visiting some squadrons to see how things have changed. I’m sure your experience as ex military will be welcomed with open arms!

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