Ex military - CI process



See i was a air cadet uesrs ago before my military service , but i wouldnt of thought they will j clude that as it was well over 8 years ago.

Well ill approach the OC on this and get his take on the whole thing


You can walk in off the street having never been a cadet or involved in the military and become an SNCO.


Yeah true , with the board though , surely though if i sat the board , met the requirements and passed all questions, without doing time as a CI or short tjme , then surely that would be suitable ?

Because if i failed then that is on me then not anyone else


Not really, as an OC, i would expect any staff member attending a board to be able to pass with ease. It looks bad on me and my team and i would expect a call from my WSO or wing commander asking why i sent someone unprepared. It would then have the knock on effect that the next person asking for a fast track would probably be rejected.

I could probably get someone up to the required standard within a week or two with the basic knowledge they require (ACP’s, RAF structure etc etc). But i would want them to have at least 6 months to a year seeing how other SNCO’s work on and off the squadron, no offence to your military career, but i have dealt with a couple of ex services personnel coming in as SNCO’s and the culture shock is normally massive and can be difficult for the first few months/year to get round the huge differences between us and regular service. The more experience you have in the ATC prior to uniformed service makes that culture shock much less when you finally put on the blue uniform.


Fair one, well I’ve been out of service for nearly a year anyways which has been an eye opener anyways haha.

I understand what you mean by culture shock but surely it affects everyone differently, I’ve had a few of them over my career and found that I adapted quite well in a short space of time and as this is a volunteer / 2 nights a week … I think I would be fine to be honest but I do understand your point of view. Again I think it goes on the person personality and situation awareness to how adaptable they are .

Well I have a meeting booked with the WExO this weekend so my probation can start and I’ve been booked on a AVIP in July as I had to miss the one at the start of March due to some admin issues from ATO,

But is there anything I can do that might help/assist people’s opinion to getting into uniform quicker ? As like I said before I’m keen as chips,

I have some basic cadet knowledge as I was a cpl in 1244 before I joined the army

Just keen to help out and to feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction from doing good rather sat on my and going to physiotherapy every week


Tonnes of stuff you can do,

Get involved in the training of first class, that will help you greatly for your interview. Pick a subject and learn it into great depth for subjects at leading and Senior, you will become invaluable then.

Ask to shadow your Adj and learn what they do, you can get as pally with your OC as you like, but my Adj runs the place and i am normally told by them whats what. Same for other roles, shadow and learn each role on the squadron, as a SNCO you will have to fill one.

Get your cadet NCO’s to show you RAF drill, i regularly get in amongst the squad and take part in drill, it gives the cadet a great laugh to see the OC in the middle of the squad and it keeps me fresh and in practice, plus it will gain you respect from your cadet NCO team that you are willing to get involved. Also funnyer when i put on a brassard with a first class badge on and a cadet beret, but that is another story.

Run some interest nights, ask your training officer for half a night and run something, can be anything from your time in the army, to how spoons are made to initiative exercises. It will gain you invaluable experience in arranging and setting up lessons.

Find a subject on the squadron and take the lead on it, find something the squadron is lacking in (model making/aircraft rec etc) and run with it.

As soon as your probationary period is up, sign up for everything you can and then possibly get involved with one of the teams that run specific things (shooting/AT/Fieldcraft), but remember its you first, squadron second, wing third. Just remember that burn out is very common so dont spread yourself too thin!

If you do all this, you will smash your interview as you can say everything you have done in the past 6-12 months.



I know the OC and Adj want me doing fieldcraft as that’s my bread butter haha

But that sounds like a plan to move forward with



The ATC cannot get enough good staff, but it expects everyone to make a seamless switch without any effort and be totally subservient to the culture . Ok SNCO service rank can be recognised and retained, but it is not like being a service helper- as a service helper you retain your position within the RAF, work under RAF rules, but essentially remain outside of the grasp of the ATC brass, but essentially lending your experience to benefit the Cadet experience.

So you come out of the service, slide across to a civilian organisation which just happens to wear the same uniform, and you can easily be mislead.

Firstly you are a very experienced individual with a lot to offer. The problem then is you encounter senior brass with no service experience. If you have not trained according to ATC standards, you aint qualified. You may have been loading stores on a Tornado for an Iraq deployment, or are qualified in rapier Missile systems, but that wont give you a ATC weapons handling certificate.

There are also some senior brass who cannot handle this superior level of service expertise, because they have never and will never be called to serve their country. They find it difficult to assimilate the ex serviceman into their empire but demand the respect their rank carries. In fact the easiest way they have of dealing with more qualified service helpers is to ignore them. Quite a brilliant way to make someone feel welcome, which is no doubt why there are few service helpers.

I have heard of someone well qualified in RAF Drill being told by a Sqn OC, that the ATC does things differently.

As a well qualified individual you could be perceived to be a threat, but the perhaps the threat is one sided against the ex serviceman/woman.

But don’t be put off, you will have a lot to offer, but it is what you get from the experience which counts and whether you feel you are able to make a valid contribution.

The Cadets make it all worthwhile, but the bureaucracy does not maybe.


That was the case when I was a cadet, the RAF used AP818 and the ATC ACP19…

Some units still do drill iaw ACP19


Oh i have already experienced this and the way i respond is yest sir , no sir , and follow what im been asked as im not there to takeover ir to upset any one,

But what i find hard is when i have staff members telling me that my experience means nothing…

I know the ATC is a youth organistation which wears and follows military guidelines… but isnt a military organisation … that i understand but if your teaching military subjects which i have alot of real experience of some of the subjects and to be told that my experiemce dosent matter … really frsutrates me,

Same with the whole CI process, im happy to go unto uniform and learn the ATO way, but being a CI in a Sqn where i cant really instruct on a lot of subjects that im very experienced in because im not qualified, this is why i am very keen and trying to move forward jnto getting into uniform early rather than sitting about at my unit twiddljng my thumbs


There should ve nothing stopping you teaching a subject because your a CI…if you know what youre doing and teachings correctly then knock your self out…even things like drill if you want to become a SNCO you need to be competent in drill instruction so why not start practicing now?


Being in uniform makes no difference to being a CI and being qualified to do things, just the brain dead attitude in some quarters of the Air Cadets that seems to feel being in uniform is better and try to restrict CIs doing things. This situation persists in the uniformed side with some who see being commissioned in the Air Cadets makes them better or more able, than a SNCO.

If the staff at the squadron want and are happy for you to do things, get on and do them now and I would then say carry on doing them and give the cadets the benefit of your experience and not worry about the uniform. If you get into staff training, there will be a number who hang on your every word and revel in your military experiences and you will hear these repeated with embellishments.


Er, it will very much give you an ATC certificate. We don’t really have our own quals, we use military ones - although I do accept that there can be some issues in transferring things across (indeed, we have an ex-serving CI with weapons quals and are trying to sort through that at the moment).


So i followec up on the intruder comment
Intruder :
your cadet NCO’s to show you RAF drill, i regularly get in amongst the squad and take part in drill, it gives the cadet a great laugh to see the OC in the middle of the squad and it keeps me fresh and in practice, plus it will gain you respect from your cadet NCO team that you are willing to get involved

I did find … whay i kearnt whilst serving and instructor is pretty much tne same … bar a few minor details…

Im judt trying to figure out how to approach tbis sitjation with wing… witnout getting there backs or some ov my sqn stafff… i do have supporting staff who are up for me to go into uniform but i donf know wethete that wluld help


Aploogise about my spelling haha


Well my old Wing had an ex-RAF SNCO who had been an instructor on the Small Arms Corps and he was required to redo his SAAI and RCO Courses despite the face that he had helped develop them and had written a large portion of the Policy so I wouldn’t hold your breath.


Its swings and roundabouts on my SSDIC we had an ex raf DI who was told he had to attend it to be a DI…he was sent home on the monday as he didnt need to attend it.


Wow… what a waste of time …


Spot on.


The ATC cannot get enough staff; good, bad or indifferent and this has been the case for years. The fact there are so many contrived obstacles (except DBS) to prevent people just getting stuck in is mind-boggling.
There will be many who will say they need to “vet” people after being cleared as if the ATC is something wonderful and special and then get by with too few staff.

I wonder how many of the over paid FTRS winderkind go through the same processes and procedures?