Getting into uniform as an NCO - Process


What process does your wing follow to get a member of staff into uniform as an NCO?

In my Wing a candidate has an interview with their sector commander, then attends mandatory AVIP/ Pre uniform courses over a few weekends where they are assessed for their teaching ability.

After a few months they will then have their board.

They are appointed but then they must attend a wing pre-ATF course before going to Cranwell.

An ex CWO I know has recently aged out and has been appointed as Sgt (ATC). He booked his ATF course for next week, which was initially accepted. But he has been asked to cancel his attendance as he had not attended a pre-ATF course. Is this a mandatory requirement or a rule for my wing?


ATF Candidates must be signed off by the WWO that they are proficent at Drill.

Likely that your wing policy is that this assessment is completed at the Pre ATF course - saves the WWO doing their job and visiting units.


In addition to being signed off for drill by WWO, there is now a requirement for Wing Commanders to confirm that candidates are proficient across a number of areas - e.g. Mess etiquette, uniform standards, public speaking etc. - this information all comes out with joining instructions from ATF


Thanks both, that’s really useful. I’ll let him know.


Here, the member of staff applies and is coached by the unit OC and WSO to enable them to pass the board.

They attend the board and, all going well, are recommended for appointment. They twiddle their thumbs until they get the official letter from HQAC when they can go and get uniform from the parent stores. They will not be in uniform until that letter is received.

Our region (S&NI) has a uniformed staff training course (USTC) that aims to prepare people for a uniformed role and this can be attended by new or potential uniformed staff. It is not a mandatory part of the process.

They can now get used to being a uniformed CFAV and work on preparing for SSIC. At some point they will book onto SSIC and will need ensure that they can meet the criteria of the SSIC pre-attendance check sheet. OC Wing needs to sign off on their competence in a number of areas and this will involve courses or separate assessments. Our WWO will typically assess drill and uniform and inform OC wing by email in time for the return date of the form.

I think it is a wing spin on the process but it may be they way that they ensure that all of the criteria are met.


I do hope being able spell correctly, write properly (without a computer), communicate in full sentences and not just stilted comments in a shouty / boorish manner is part of the requirements as well. In fact I’d prioritise this and public speaking, over mess etiquette (pointless given the chance to practice it) and uniform standards.
I’ve had seen too many SNCOs who have literacy levels lower than 99% of cadets (and seem quite proud of the fact they struggle), which to my mind puts in question their ability to communicate properly and be leaders in a youth organisation. Would you expect to see teachers who struggled with literacy? But I know from local experience these factors aren’t high on the list. As long as they can press a trouser or shine a shoe and know which knife and fork to use, everything’s good.
The adult SNCOs on my sqn have to do public speaking, in which I would include instructing cadets in across all subjects and write letters, instructions etc.


The Pre-ATF Training sign off from a Wing Commander is for both OIC and SSIC -

Dress and Deportment
Public Speaking
RAF Organisation
RAFAC Organisation - to include ACP 1,2,4,5
Attendance at Parent Station relevant Mess
Mess Etiquette

I agree that ability to communicate is key whatever level or uniform a CFAV wears - but i think someones ability to spell and write in sentences doesn’t necessarily have an impact on their ability to be a good leader, good role model or good CFAV.

No I wouldn’t but we aren’t teachers, nor are we paid professionals so not sure where your comparison lies with that statement?


Why am I thinking of glass houses just now?


These sound like all the sorts of things you would learn at ATF. Except you’re expected to know before you attend the course.


A lot of it, yes. It makes me question the value and purpose of the ATF courses.


I’ve questioned the relevance since I first went on one.


I have seen documentation from SNCOs which leaves a lot to be desired and if this is to make it into the public domain, such as parents, it doesn’t give a good impression and as I say communicating with high achieving cadets, it does you no favours.

I differ on the point about being teachers, we are expected to teach subjects and about things, that require a professional approach to the way these are done and in this are things like spelling and comprehension. If we are teaching a subject, part of our preparation should be understanding the subject matter and if our reading skills are not up to scratch, what chance do the cadets stand.

I’ve seen comments that we aren’t social workers either, but we are expected to deal with welfare and CP matters, as part of safeguarding.

We are jacks of all trades and masters of none.